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The Lie That Parents Tell

All around the world, you can find parents that tell a specific lie.  This lie is that they decided to have kids for the kids.  In other words, the lie that having a child in the first place or that sacrificing themselves by parenting that child is an altruistic act that they do FOR the child itself.  But the truth that no one wants to admit to or see is that having a child is not an altruistic act and parents have kids for themselves. I know this truth has the potential to trigger people and set off a real debate war.  But stick with me to the end if you can, it may just have the potential to make you a better parent.
The reason that we can’t admit as parents that we had self-centered motives for having children is because currently, human society values the idea of altruism and self-sacrifice and considers it bad and wrong to have self-centered motives.  This creates a bit of a problem because the reality is that the only reason anyone does anything is because they think it will make them feel better if they do it. This is true even for altruistic acts.
Before this begins to depress you, I must tell you that there is nothing wrong with this being the case… The ultimate truth of this universe is oneness.  So the most enlightened being will be moved towards acts of altruism because they experience all things in the world as themselves. In a universe that is one, you could say that every act is self-centered because there is nothing that is not you.  So, swallowing that there is nothing wrong with self-centered motives and that you can’t escape them even if you try and that the more enlightened you become, the more you experience that everything is you and so the more motivated you become to do things to increase the wellbeing of “others”.  But you won’t really see it as altruism because you see the self-service in all of your actions relative to others. Let’s move on to accepting why parents have children.
There are many reasons why parents have children.  Let’s look at some of the top reasons. One of the first is “oops”.  Meaning they failed to prevent pregnancy for one of many reasons but they had sex and it happened.  When this is the case, we have to look at the self-centered reason they decided to keep the baby instead of not keep it.  For example, they might keep the baby because they don’t want to feel lifelong guilt and shame. Or they kept the baby because they think that not doing so will end their romantic relationship. Or they kept the baby because they wanted kids eventually anyway for any one of the reasons I am about to list.
Let’s assume the pregnancy wasn’t an oops.  There are several reasons that people decide to have children, most of them subconscious.  I’m going to list some of them for you now.
To try to create a permanent bond or knot with a romantic partner which guarantees that partner’s commitment or caring or financial support or that secures your sense of belonging with them
To try to create a feeling of family that you missed out on
To try to heal the wounds from your own childhood vicariously
Because of societal pressure… feeling like you have to have child to be considered a welcome, esteemed, successful member of a society that recognizes having children as a necessary part of the picture of social success
To legitimize a marriage
To try to get closeness and other emotional needs met by something because those needs are not being met by anyone in your life, including if not especially not being met by your emotionally unavailable partner 
To end your loneliness
To feel needed and loved and wanted by something
To have something that truly and fully belongs to you unconditionally.  
To get unconditional love and belonging 
Because of those loving, fun, envy worthy, good-life images in your head that you’ve seen other people get, like of walking in the park as a family with a stroller or watching them opening presents on Christmas morning or watching them play a sport from the stands or on vacation as a family
To try to bring play and fun and enthusiasm about life back into your life by having something you can show the good parts of life to
To feel empowered by having something that you can have complete power and authority and control over creating and shaping
Because your religion or society gives you a very strong reason in the form of a belief about why you need to and must have kids to be an esteemed member of the religion or society     
To carry on your legacy so you don’t end when you die
To collect benefits from the government
Because you personally love small babies and young children so you want to have them around
Because your sense of self-esteem is linked to caretaking.  
Because you have a missing need to be validated. Nothing is more validating than a mini-me 
Because your body is biologically wired to want to  
To add meaning to your life that feels meaningless
To feel good about yourself and see yourself as a good person when you are able to give children the chance to enjoy existence
To live the success you didn’t get vicariously through them (success and status by proxy)
To have a living, breathing trophy to add to your existing success
Ok, you get the point.  What can be really, really hard is that just because we decided to have kids to meet a personal need or desire we had, doesn’t mean that having a child will actually meet that need or desire.  In fact, having kids can backfire on those need and desires entirely. For example, a mother may want closeness and validation and belonging by having a daughter. She imagines this daughter will be just like her and therefore turn into a best friend.  But children are their own beings with their own destiny. She may have a daughter who is nothing like her and then feel even less validated and rejected and more alone than she did before having a kid. Another example is that we could have a kid to gain increased belonging and closeness with a partner only to find that the stress of parenting comes between us and makes us even less close than before and even makes our partner withdraw and even cheat.
When the original need or desire we had that motivated us to have kids in the first place isn’t met, the door is blown wide opened for conflict with our kids.  Many people find themselves in the very painful pattern of hating parenting but feeling so much caring for their child as a person that they feel both trapped and deeply conflicted.
  If a person is especially unconscious, they subconsciously blame their child for their life not going how they wanted it to go.  Deep down, parents often feel betrayed by their kids because the presumed agreement was that the child (or parenting in and of itself) would meet that desire or need… therefore the child didn’t keep up its side of the bargain.  They don’t see that this actually wasn’t an agreement the child actually agreed to. It was presumed. And the relationship begins to feel like a one-way relationship with their kids. They begin to feel like they are sacrificing themselves for their kids.  This is where a parent can fall into the super damaging trap of holding the fact that they had their child in the first place (or are parenting them at all) over their child’s head as leverage demanding gratitude and obedience as payment in return.
It’s ok to have self-centered motives.  In fact, you can’t not have them. You just have to be really, really aware of them and own them.  Having a child may not actually meet those needs and desires in the way you imagine they will. As anyone who has kids can tell you, the picture you have of what having a child will be like is so much different than what parenting is actually like.
On top of this, you have to stop for a minute and really get that when you decide to have kids, it is because of what you expect to GET from having them.  And you have to be really, really aware that so much of parenting is giving. Parents often think about what they will get, not about what they will be required to give, especially in a society where we no longer live in tribe.  Parenting has never been harder in history than it is now for this reason. Your child will have his or her own needs, most of which you will have to meet or find someone else to meet. They will have their own desires, destiny, purpose, preferences, thoughts, feelings and aptitudes.  You are not doing them a favor by giving birth to them. Even if their soul decided there was mutual benefit in coming through you, they did not physically walk up and knock on your door asking for you to do it. They are not in debt to you for anything you decide to give them or do for them.  They owe you nothing no matter what you do for them. Not getting this is to entrap your child and entrapment is the opposite of love. To understand this in depth, I want you to watch two of my videos. The first is titled: “The Defective Doll” and the second is titled: “Cut The Invisible Strings”.
Having a child is entering into a relationship.  Contrary to popular opinion, it will not be an unconditional one.  Just like any other relationship, the health and longevity and safety of that relationship has to do with their best interests being accommodated for, not just your own.  For more information about this, watch my video titled: “How To Have a Safe Relationship”.
As a parent or potential parent, ask yourself WHY did I or do I really want kids?  Be brave enough to admit to the self-serving motive.  And don’t fall into the trap of believing the lie that parents tell.  They did not have you for your sake.  They had you for their sake.  The question is why?

The ‘Value Realization’ (A Concept That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth)

So many people are walking the surface of the earth with terribly low self-esteem.  The core of this poor self-esteem is the feeling of not being valued. When we value something, we regard it as having worth to us because it is useful, important and beneficial.  And it is this understanding that gives rise to the realization that can change your entire life.  The realization is this: Value is entirely based on needs.  Sit with that for a minute while I explain how this understanding can change your self-concept.
When you were young, you came into an un-awakened society. In an un-awakened society, there are collective social and cultural values. And when we value one thing, we usually condemn the opposite.  For example, self-sacrifice may be a social value, in which case selfishness is condemned. To the opposite, winning may be a social value, in which case considering someone else’s best interests is condemned.  We deem one good and the other bad. In order to keep the social order, we socialize children by training them to behave in a way that is acceptable to the society we live in. We indoctrinate children with our social and cultural values and reward them when they adhere to those values. We punish children when they demonstrate behavior that contradicts our social and cultural values.
If we want our needs to be met, survive in society and have a chance at feeling things like love, belonging, contribution, and safety, we only have one option: We need to adopt the values of the society we are born into.  The disapproval and punishment we are met with as a result of not adhering to a societal value is painful enough that you will avoid it in the future at all costs. In response, what you do in order to avoid it in the future is that you adopt the social value and you make it your own standard for yourself.  This is a problem if any of those values become standards that oppose your own truth or your own unique being.  For example, a child who is born a scientist into a family that values art is going to adopt artistry as a value and therefore standard for himself or herself.  It is a standard that he or she will consistently fall short of and therefore, he or she will feel low self-esteem.
To understand the concept of values being entirely based off of needs, imagine that you are driving down the highway when you see a man running into the middle of the road as fast as he can to retrieve a ladder that has fallen out of the back of a truck. Think about the different reactions that this situation could elicit. One driver could be absolutely furious because the man caused him to swerve so as to not hit him. One driver could thank God for his bravery because by risking his own life to run out on the road, he could potentially be saving the lives of anyone that might be unable to avoid hitting the ladder.
If this man has a wife and children, they may feel betrayed because their husband and father would choose to risk his life without a thought to the pain that would cause the family. A police officer may see this man as stupid and be upset that he didn’t call the authorities when he had to deal with a ladder on the highway. A news anchor may want to feature him on the nightly news as a hero. All of these reactions were entirely different. They were different because they had different needs, different past experiences, and therefore very different values.
Values are determined by needs. If I need to get to work on time, I’m going to value an efficient highway and I will be angry at a person who gets in my way. If I need to stay safe, I will value anyone who makes sure the road is a safe place to drive. If I need my husband, I will value any act that keeps him with me and devalue any act that could take him away. If I need to feel like I am in control of public safety, I’m going to value people following the rules and get angry at anyone who risks their own life. If I’m a news anchor who needs a good story, I’m going to value a story about a public hero.
Beliefs, rules, and values are formed in response to needs. These become the foundation of your standards.  Examine your beliefs, rules, and values through the lens of, “every one of them is created in response to a need of parents, culture or society at some point in time.” You adopted their values, beliefs, and rules so as to be accepted and loved by them. The things they taught you became your “shoulds” and you didn’t even question most of them. But beliefs, values and rules change when needs change.
When it comes to the concept of self-worth, the first thing we need to do with it is to throw it away. “Worth” is a completely abstract concept. You cannot objectively determine the value of something. Worth has no basis in reality because it’s entirely subjective. The criteria created to determine a person’s worth is entirely dependent upon the society he or she is born into. 
Think of it this way. The quality of being present is worthless in a society that values doing. The quality of external beauty is worthless in a society for the blind. 
Now I am going to tell you something that I never want you to forget. Perhaps the reason that you feel like you have no worth or value is because the very real qualities which you came in with (qualities that would have held infinite value to other people) were not considered valuable to the people that comprised your family or the culture or society you were born into. 
For example, if you were born with artistic talents but landed in a family that valued the quality of scholarly intellect above all else, they may not consider your gifts valuable and therefore you would have received the message that you were not valuable. However, if you would have been born into a family of artists, your gift would have been instantly recognized as valuable and therefore, you would have felt as if you were valuable.  The sad reality is that you can be born into a society, culture or family that is incompatible to you because your own innate value is not in alignment with their specific needs and therefore values.
I often tell a story about a horse who feels really bad about himself.  This horse lives with a car dealer. The car dealer loves cars, he loves making lots of money and he loves to go fast so he needs something that can go over a hundred miles an hour.  The horse watches him wipe the cars lovingly for hours with diapers. The horse hears him talking about how much horsepower the car engines have and he realizes it would take 140 of him to equal one of those cars.  He hears about how much money the man can sell the car for and he realizes that someone would pay much less money for him than the cars. The horse decides that he doesn’t have value. He is worthless. But is that actually true?  One day, the horse ends up being driven in a trailer to a farm. He thinks he is being given away by the car dealer because he has no value. However, when he gets out of the trailer, he sees a man standing there with a huge smile, excited to see him.  The new man spends hours brushing his coat. He overhears the new man bragging about how perfect his conformation is. The new man needs a horse he can soar over a series of jumps on, which is something a car could never do. Suddenly the horse realizes that there is someone to value everything in this world.  It is simply a matter of being in the right place with the right person who will recognize the needs that you are designed to meet.
So many of you grew up in households and still may live in communities or cultures that are no different than this horse living with a car salesman.  But it is just as much BS that because you are being treated like you are treated, means you have no value as it is for the horse to make how he was treated by the car salesman mean that no one will value a horse.
Think about what your parents need and why.  See if your innate talents, tendencies, nature and interests are something that they value.  If not, what do they value? What needs make them value those things? Are you a match to those needs or not?  For example, let’s imagine that your mother does not value your tendency to tell it like it is. She values social etiquette and politeness.  The reason is because she has the need for people to see her as a good mom, which can only happen if her child is well behaved. A person who tells the truth is very valuable to many people and in many social circles.  But it is incompatible to her need of keeping up the appearance of being seen as a good mom. Essentially you need to realize that their valuing or lack there of, is not about you at all, it’s about their own needs. Money is worth a lot to most people.  But in a time of war, when needs change, suddenly money can become worthless in that country overnight.
Worth and value is completely subjective, variable, often irrational, and dependent upon circumstance. For this reason, true human worth is impossible to determine.  Another way of looking at value, rather than to say that value doesn’t inherently exist is that value is inherent in all things, but that value is not going to matter in certain situations or to certain people.  Try to accept that it is pointless to try to get someone to change their needs.  It is a much better strategy to find someone who has a need that is compatible to you.  And it is a guarantee that you will be seen as valuable to someone. Who might that someone be?  If value were entirely based on needs. The most important question to ask yourself is: Who needs me?

Do You Want Success? Stop Valuing Your Time

Before we dive into this episode, I have to warn you that like so many of my belief altering videos, this video has the potential to trigger you.  It will especially trigger you if you have been raised with a ‘blue collar mentality’. I ask you to use the trigger to really examine and question whatever resistance arises so that you can consciously choose a mentality that best serves you and your success.
  If you were to look from objective perspective, you would see two concepts that dramatically slowed human progression.  Those concepts are the hourly wage and the salary. The human economy is built upon these concepts. One could say that time is the new currency.  Rather than suggest a way to overhaul the entire world economy, I am going to explain why this had a devastating effect on human life, excellence and progress in general.
When people began to be paid according to how many hours they spent doing a task (or for a period of time specifically instead of for the completion of a specific task) the subsequent belief that came with it, was that a person’s time is what is valuable.  Now the valuing of a person’s time is synonymous with the valuing of a person in general.  For example, how many times have you heard the following: “If he or she doesn’t value my time and prove it somehow, then he or she doesn’t value me”.  This is one of the top reasons, if not the top reason that people quit their jobs.
The first problem with this is that time is a perceptual construct that exists for the reason of tracking expansion, change and progression.  But time is in essence, an illusion. It begins to unravel at the 5th dimension only. So you’re valuing an illusion.
The second problem is that once a person began to see their time as valuable, they started to see what they were doing with their energy during that time as less important.  The incentive to really produce quality results decreased.  Many people began to do ‘just good enough’ work to keep their jobs.  Business became a never-ending road of incentives programs and bonuses to try to get people to produce quality.  People began to feel entitled to earning based on the time they spent doing a task. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the incentive to take a long time doing something or to do just enough to get paid more was also born of this concept.  Something that we have to accept is that not all uses of time are equal.
The third problem is that when we began to see what a person was doing with their talent and energy during that time as less important than their time itself, we began to lose touch with unique purpose.  Because of wounding relative to negative hierarchy, there were many societies that sought to treat all humans as equals. “Everyone’s time and energy is just the same and just as valuable as everyone else’s”.  One of the shadows of this ideology is that people are treated as if they are the same, when they are not. For more information about this, watch my equally triggering videos titled: Hierarchy (Should We Accept It) and People are Not All Equal.
Man’s skill and man’s energy was treated like one resource to be plugged into the machine of society wherever it was needed.  This is in fact the foundation of the traditional school system, which is one of the reasons you learned things you will never ever need to know in your adult life.  Really, this viewpoint became the foundation for a huge waste of true energy and talent. From objective perspective, if we valued results, it would be obvious what innate aptitude, talent and interest people had very early.  We would see how unique and different people are from day one. And children would be streamlined toward their innate gifts and interests. If you play this out, the machine of society would be a much more efficient and productive entity.  Job satisfaction would be much, much higher. You wouldn’t have to try to artificially incentivize quality results because the desire to produce them would be intrinsic. Can you imagine being told at five when you loved drawing but hated math that you could have extra art tutors rather than have to come in after school for math tutoring?  Most people in today’s world are actually in the wrong place and position within society because of this dysfunctional social mentality and dynamic.
Most of the people who instantly get the dysfunction of valuing time, own businesses and struggle with employees who are part of unions and who expect good pay for mediocre results.  However, there is a fast way for a person who has only ever been an hourly wage based employee to get the dysfunction in valuing time over results… Go hire a lawyer.
It has been a common misconception that successful people value their time more than anything else.  You’ll hear things like “What is your time worth?” Successful people will not waste time doing less than efficient or less than productive things.  For example, a business man will hire a cook or someone else to clean his house because with that time he would spend cleaning the house or cooking, he could focus his energy on an endeavor that guarantees he could afford to pay someone else to clean the house for an entire year, freeing up his energy to do what he does best... Focus on the needs of his company.  But if you really look at any of these examples of successful people valuing their time, what you will notice is that they aren’t really valuing their time specifically.  What they are valuing is their energy and where they are focusing that energy to achieve the best results.
 If we adopted this mentality, a scientist with great skill would hire someone to clean his house because universally it is a great waste of his skill (not efficient in terms of a society’s progression) for him to be focusing on cleaning his house.  It would be a bit like a violin being used as a chair. It makes no sense. It isn’t efficient. It isn’t the highest and best use of the unique being that is the scientist. The universe is interested in the highest and best use of a thing. And if we want to be in alignment with success and part of that is excellence (which are really just two of the many words we use to describe expansion) we need to adopt the same mentality.
If you felt yourself go into resistance about the previous examples, it is probably because you don’t want to accept that someone’s purpose would be cleaning.  First, this reaction comes from the fact that you have adopted a societal judgment that a person’s personal worth is lower if they are a cleaner. Second, you are making the assumption that no one’s interest, aptitude, passion and talent is cleaning.  Third, you have not seen that if people genuinely had a task they all didn’t want to do, they would quickly come up with a different way to get the job done. For example, the robotics industry would have already overhauled our world, like it will very soon.
Ironically many people question why the quality of things used to be so much higher in ancient times.  It baffles the mind that a society would focus on building something that took thousands of years to erect.  One of the reasons was that these societies valued quality and results more than time. The human lifespan was much shorter.  What mattered to them was contribution. What mattered was to feel like with what little time they had, they would leave the world with something that was truly a statement of greatness and achievement…  To leave it better than when they came. People wanted to leave a mark on the world. This is the same reason why men would sacrifice their lives for war. We can debate the rightness or wrongness of their perception that war was a worthy use of their energy later.  For the sake of this understanding, you have to see that was truly great was that it didn’t matter if it took them an hour or 2,000 years. What mattered was the quality of the result. And you can be sure they came up with all kinds of methods and tools to try to turn years into months or days.
If you want to be a success, stop valuing your time and instead value results.  Realize that it is in your hands whether something takes four days or four hours.  You only care if things take hours if you hate doing whatever it is you are doing. This begs the question, why come to earth to spend your life doing what you don’t want to do?   And if you’re doing the right thing with your energy, interests, aptitude and talent, you’re going to have passion for what you’re doing so it wont matter if it takes four days or four hours.  To grasp this concept further, watch my video titled: Have To (The Life Philosophy That Will Ruin Your Life).
It may strike you as odd that someone like myself is telling you to focus on and value results, especially given that people who teach any spirituality usually tell you to focus on the journey, not the destination and that happiness belongs to the person who can feel joy about what is and that the desire for excellence is simply a function of the ego.  But both expansion and stillness have a place and have value in this universe.
When you are focused on success, you are focused on expansion.  To succeed, you must consider your energy is what creates. The right focus and use of that energy in order to achieve the best results is the order of the day.  No matter what anyone says, no boss is going to simply value your time; a person who sits in a corner and does nothing but breathes oxygen also has time. What they are going to value is results.  You are no different. You don’t value the 20 hours that a plummer may take to fix a problem if he doesn’t fix it. In fact, you’d be pissed to pay him for those 20 hours if he didn’t fix it. You value the result, which would be him fixing the problem.  If he doesn’t fix it, you either don’t care about the time he spent doing it or at best, you value his effort.  
This life is not about time.  It’s about how you focus and spend your energy in this dimension we call physical life.   A person could be given one hour and live a more meaningful and successful life with that one hour than a person who was given 40 years.  Make sure that what you focus on and how you spend your energy is on what really matters to you. Let go of the idea that your time itself matters.  If all that mattered was what you were doing within any given timeframe, how would you feel about yourself and your life?

Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It)

If you have spent time in the spiritual, self-help or psychology community, you may have heard the term “parts work”.  Today, I’m going to explain to you what parts work is as well as offer you one of my simple methods for how to do it.  Keep in mind that I could write several books on parts work alone, so what you are going to read in this article is a condensed version of leagues worth of information.
When we introduce ourselves to someone, we call ourselves by one name such as “I am Teal”.  We see ourselves and our consciousness as a singularity. The problem is that consciousness is not unified, it is split.  It is fragmented. So that you can have a thorough understanding of this, if you have not done so already, I want you to stop this video now and watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease before you continue to watch the rest of this video.
To reiterate, even though you have one body, within that body, you end up with multiple selves.  The best way to picture this is to imagine that inside your body, you have a collection of Siamese twins.  They are technically all conjoined because they all share one body. But each one has its own identity, its own desires, needs, perspective, strengths, weaknesses and appearance. There is really no limit to how many can be inside a person.
Again, the mistake we have made within society is to think that only some people suffer from what psychologists call multiple personality disorder.  The reality is that all people do. The question is… to what degree? Most people aren’t walking around calling themselves by one name one minute and another name the next.  But how many people behave completely differently in one scenario than they do in another? How many people have multiple “sides”? How many people can’t make a decision because they feel torn?  These are all indications that we have multiple selves operating within us at any given time. Our degree of internal suffering is about the degree of harmony or lack there of between these internal selves.
Ready to go even deeper?  Though trauma is the primary thing which causes the psyche to fragment, upon opting into a physical human body, you already opt into an experience of fragmentation.  Each cell in your body has an individual consciousness (which we could call a part) and every organ that is made up of those cells has an individual consciousness (that we could call a part).  Looking at it this way, an organ in your body is actually a collective consciousness. And you are more like an ecosystem that goes by one name, which is also a collective consciousness. We could treat any collective consciousness as a singularity so as to completely focus on and learn from it.  This is the bedrock of what we are doing with parts work.
Without you knowing it, I just gave you the actual definition for internal peace.  Most people think inner peace means you have found some external thing or type of practice that has caused you to finally feel calm and whole and fulfilled.  Actually inner peace simply means that these inner twins (all the different parts of you that add up to this amalgamation that you call by your name) are all coexisting harmoniously instead of at war with each other.  It is the absence of internal opposition between parts.
Something to understand about parts work is that just like meditation, no one owns the copyright to working with aspects of consciousness.  Any person with a methodology that includes parts work has their own philosophy and approach to parts work. I am no exception. When I teach you about parts work, I am going to be presenting my methodology and approach.  I have many important reasons for why I suggest to do it the way that I suggest you to do it.  There are so many different philosophies and methods and techniques that fall into the category of parts work.  Parts work is simply the term that has caught on to represent the ideology behind them all. For example you have Internal Family Systems, Gestalt, Inner Shamanic Journey Work, Freudian psychology, Art therapy, Play therapy, Acting Schools, Jungian psychology, Inner Child Work, Ego State Theory, Voice Dialogue and the list goes on and on. Keep in mind that shadow work is essentially techniques, practices and processes that make you aware of what is subconscious within you.  Most of your ‘parts’, you are totally unconscious of. So parts work is technically a shadow work process.
You can do parts work by yourself and/or you can do it with someone facilitating and guiding you through it.  Today, I’m going to teach you how to do it if you are by yourself. You can go deep into the consciousness of only one part of yourself.  In fact, this can be a great way to become conscious of yourself. But I’m going to show you how to work with two parts that are in a state of opposition because this opposition between two selves is the primary cause of distress in your life.
First, identify the parts you are going to work with.  For the sake of this example, lets imagine that a woman is overworked and her body is breaking down. But no matter what she does, she can’t stop and relax.  It is then safe to assume that there is a part of her that needs to relax and a part of her that will not let her relax.  She is going to feel into which one is more dominant or present and in control to start.  So lets imagine that the part which is more “up” right now is the part that needs relaxation.  She is now going to set up two chairs in a room. She is going to pick one of those chairs and when she sits down in it, she is going to sit down AS only that part of her that needs relaxation.
The best way to imagine this is to imagine that she is a method actor and in that moment, she is only diving into the perspective of and becoming that one part of herself, as if it were the totality of her.  Another way of thinking about this is that by sitting in that one chair, you are channeling only that one part of you and allowing it to take over your whole body and awareness.  She is going to spend some time getting used to it as if she is in a foreign being. She will consider things like ‘what do I feel like?’ ‘How big or small am I?’ Do I feel female or male?  Human or not human? How old do I feel? Where do I feel like I am? Essentially, to begin with, you are simply becoming aware of it without asking it to express or questioning it.
From there, you have a choice to communicate in a written or spoken format  as this part (keep in mind that some parts are less communicative and verbal than others).   Some people choose to record themselves doing this if they are speaking. Others prefer to write.  If you have chosen to write and find it difficult at first to simply let the truth belonging to one of your parts to flow through you, consider writing with the hand you do not usually write with.  It doesn’t matter if it is messy. Your non dominant hand is more connected to your subconscious mind. This woman in our example will then begin to write or speak as this part.  What is its current truth?  What does it need to say or need you or others to hear?  Seeing as how the part this woman in our example just went into is the part that needs relaxation, it may write or say things like “I’m just so tired.  I literally can’t do this anymore. I don’t like life anymore. Every day is just a grid, what kind of life is that? I don’t even like what I liked anymore etc.  Let it express as much as it wants.  You may feel questions arise from somewhere deep inside you.  You can ask these questions to this part. Things like “when did this start or when did things change for you?”  Or “what would you be doing instead if you could do anything and why?” Any question that arises can help you to gain deeper clarity about this part of you.  Two questions that you need to remember to ask are how this part feels about the central personality. For example if it were me, I would ask, “how do you feel about Teal”.  Also ask how this part feels towards the part on the opposite or other side of it (the other side of the split). In this case, the part that will not let the woman in our example, stop and relax.  Don’t be surprised if it has no awareness of the other part. Also understand that it can have any type of relationship with the other part. It may hate the other part, love the other part, consider the other part a protector, minimize the other part etc.  Any relationship that is possible in the outside world is possible in the inside world.
When it feels like this first part has said what it wants and needs to say and you’ve explored it so as to have a good understanding of it, and when it feels willing for you to explore the other part, you are going to stand up from the chair.  When you do this, imagine leaving that part of you sitting in the chair. You are going to turn back around and look at the chair you just came out of as if that part of you is sitting in front of you. Imagine, sense or feel that part of you. Your perspective of it from this “middle point perspective” will often be different than the perspective you had of it when you were inside of it.  What does this tell you about yourself? Using our example, the woman might notice that when she was inside this part and sitting in the chair, it felt older like a stressed out version of herself but that when she stood up, suddenly that part sitting in the chair mentally looks like a young slave from the 1200s.
The next step is to sit down in the other chair you set up in the room.  But when you do this, this time, you are sitting down as the opposite part.  Using our example, this woman will sit down as the part of herself that refuses to let her relax.  She is going to repeat the exact same process as she did with the first part, but with this part now.  Seeing as how the part this woman in our example just went into is the part that refuses to grant relaxation, it may write or say things like “I can’t afford to relax.  People who need relax are pathetic. Life will come crumbling down around me if I let go of any of the balls I have in the air” etc. Let it express as much as it wants.  Question it if you are able to split your consciousness enough to do so. Again, the two questions that you need to remember to ask are how this part feels about the central personality.  For example, if it were me, I would ask, “how do you feel about Teal” and how this part feels towards the part on the opposite or other side of it (the other side of the split). In this case, the part that needs relaxation.
When it feels like this second part has said what it wants and needs to say and you’ve explored it so as to have a good understanding of it, you are going to again stand up from the chair.  When you do this, just like you did the first time, imagine leaving that part of you sitting in the chair. You are going to turn back around and look at the chair you just came out of as if that part of you is sitting in front of you.  Imagine, sense or feel that part of you. Your perspective of it from this “middle point” will often be different than the perspective you had of it when you were inside of it. What does this tell you about yourself? Using our example, the woman might notice that when she looks at it, it appears to be a very serious version of herself that acts and feels a lot like her mother.  This of course gives her the clue that this part of her may just be an internalization of her mother, which looks to have taken over her mother’s job of beating her into responsibility productivity and work ethic. Also take a moment to look at both parts now, as if they were both sitting in their respective chairs in front of you, what do you notice about them when you imagine, sense or feel them both sitting in front of you?
If you allow your awareness to touch these parts, the process of integration will already be occurring.  So technically, you could simply become aware of them and make them aware of each other and that will have initiated the healing.  However, the aim of this kind of parts work is to create a conflict resolution between these opposed parts. You can consider your intention to be to bring enough awareness to each part that each part begins to release its resistance to the other and finds alignment instead.  You can go back into the first or second parts as many times as you want to or feel called to in order to create this ‘resolve’ between them. Simply remember to come back into the ‘center point perspective’ each time you do this. By setting this intention, you are acting as a kind of mediator for your own two parts.
When you are doing this, if one part does not begin to agree with the other, I don’t want you to think about striking a compromise.  You can’t force resolve and compromise is damaging. Compromise means, I’ll take some pain and you’ll take some pain in order for us to stay connected.  Instead, you want to be focused on the ‘third option’.  The third option is something that is a “yes this feels good to both of us”.  Using our example, the part that will not allow relaxation may begin to see how much damage it is doing and that continuing to disallow relaxation is leading to a burn out (where being unable to be productive is a guarantee).  It may also remember that it used to feel like hell to be treated like a slave by mom and see that it is doing the same thing to the other part. This may lead to it agreeing to get on board with relaxation and deciding with the other part what that relaxation might look like.  This may lead the first part to reassure the second that it will feel more motivated to work if it gets that relaxation and even thank it for being so driven.
When parts begin to merge and re integrate, it can feel like the two have reached peace or agreement.  It can also feel like they are literally dissolving into one. The goal is for the tension between them to turn into relief and alignment.
Eventually, when your system gets used to parts work, your “awakened ego” will become stronger and stronger and your parts themselves will gain awareness and so they will be increasingly oriented towards and interested in finding alignment.  As a result, what you will notice is that they will begin to soften quickly and without having to go into each one over and over, they will begin to merge into one or one may even choose to disappear because that part does not have a role it wants to fill anymore. 
Here are some important things to remember.  I don’t care how hateful, violent, difficult, avoidant, narcissistic, unaware or whatever else a part may be, it is abusive to hold an attitude of negative judgment or criticism towards a part when you are working with it.  This can in fact enhance a split and make the conflict between your parts worse. The right attitude to have is curiosity and the intention to offer it awareness that will help it, not even to change it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people approach one of their parts thinking it needed to change, when really it was the one holding the truth.  But for the sake of understanding this, imagine you are an addict and I walk up to you and tell you, “Don’t you see how messed up you are? You’re ruining everyone’s lives. Who is stupid enough to keep hurting people even if you know you’re doing it?” How open are you going to be to me? Are you going to soften or go into more resistance to me? Are you going to open your truth to me or close down?  A thing must become softer in order to change. So act in a way relative to this process that inspires willingness, openness and softness.
Also, the reason that I consider it critical to step into the ‘center point perspective’ is because this integrative process is also a conscious dis-identification process.  This does not only help with self-awareness. If you go all the way into a part and then step out of that part, you are realizing a very powerful truth. You are seeing that you are at one time, all of these parts and therefore no one single part.  This causes your identity to grow in the direction of oneness, which can be considered the awakened or enlightened ego. I know when I say that an ego can be awakened or enlightened, you may feel yourself choke. But don’t worry, to understand this concept better, you can watch my video titled: Oneness is not the ultimate truth if this universe.  When you get that you are all and therefore none of these parts, suddenly you become choice.  You can draw from the incredible resources of any part.  They no longer have control over you. In this way, parts work becomes one of the methods to actualize enlightenment.
Most of the time when fragmentation occurs within the psyche, you will be dealing with a polarity.  This means two opposed parts. There can be an exception, when a vulnerable part has two protector parts that are opposed to one another.  This is much more rare and I call it a three way split. But here is the good news, you don’t need to know both parts to do parts work. You can start with one, such as “the part of me that is committed to my relationship” and when you go into the other one, it can simply be as loose as “the one on the other side of this one or the one behind this one”.  Doing parts work in this way can be quite effective because when you go into the perspective, you are staying totally open to what it actually is, instead of projecting that it is the part that isn’t committed to your relationship.  The opposing part in this example could be the part of you that is in a state of learned powerlessness and that is convinced the relationship will end no matter what you do.
If someone is facilitating you in parts work, the difference here is that they are acting as a kind of guide and mediator of the entire process.  They become the ultimate relationship therapist between your parts.
Until you go into your parts, you have as much awareness about yourself as your neighbor has about you… Mostly a mix of paltry observations, judgments and projections.  You never know what the truth and actual perspective can be until you dive deep into a part. It will shock you and surprise you how incredibly different it can be from what you expect.  It will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”.
There are a million tips and tools and suggestions to make your parts work more effective.  There are a million awarenesses you will gain about parts work and the psyche and consciousness itself and the universe at large by doing parts work.  But consider this your crash course. As with anything, the more you practice, the better and better you’ll get at it. Just be aware that the part of you that is doing the parts work, may just be a ‘part’ in and of itself!

Have To… The Life Philosophy that Will Ruin Your Life

The vast majority of people on the planet earth feel trapped in their lives.  They feel overwhelmed by stress and pressure. But the underlying cause of this negative feeling is not something that most people are consciously aware of.  That underlying cause is the feeling that they have to do things that they don’t want to do.  
Before I explain this pattern in depth, I need to throw a universal truth at you.  It is a universal truth that is going to take you way out on a scary limb of freedom.  There is no such thing as a ‘have to’ in this universe. You could decide to walk out your front door, throw the keys down a sewage grate, leave your car wherever it is forever, walk to a different country and not tell anyone where you have gone and live an entirely different life.  You could never get out of bed, pee and crap the bed when you have to use the restroom, never eat again and simply wait for death to happen. You need to realize that you have free will. No one can actually take that away from you. All they can do is use their free will to escalate consequences or reward for your choices.  If someone has a knife to your throat wanting something from you, you can choose to die rather than to give them what they want. But most people in this position want to live and so they give the person what he or she wants. Here is the problem, if we find ourselves in this kind of situation, we don’t tell the story of “I consciously chose to give them what they want because I wanted to live.”  We tell the story “I had to give them what they wanted, they made me.” We disown our free will. We do this because we don’t want the pain or pressure of the responsibility of having done something bad or wrong.     
Every decision you make comes with a consequence.  It’s nothing personal; it’s simply the law of cause and effect in the universe.  And it is usually those potential consequences that cause you to decide to do something, even when you don’t want to do it.  In this very minute a split occurs within you between the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing and the part of you that does want to do that thing in order to avoid consequences.  The thing is this immediately makes that thing a “have to” instead of a “want to”. We feel like we ‘have to’ do things when we are doing to them in order to avoid a consequence rather than when we are doing them in order to create or bring about something that we want.  
We are trained from a very early age that doing what we want to do is selfish.  We are often punished for it. On the other hand, we are rewarded for doing things that other people want us to do, but that we don’t want to do.  Our wires become crossed. We believe there is virtue in “have to” and that the only life that is right is one entirely made up of “have tos”, duty and obligation.  To understand more about this pattern, watch my video titled: The Freedom/Connection Split within Humanity.    
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but ‘have to’ has become a way of avoiding social consequences.  It isn’t socially acceptable to tell someone who invites you to a party “I don’t want to go to the party.”  Instead we say things like “I can’t”. The truth is, we can. We are choosing not to because we have another priority.  If someone asks us to join him or her for an activity, we say, “I have to work”. The truth is, you don’t have to work.  You want to work because you want an excuse to avoid them or it’s a higher priority to keep your boss happy than to see them or you want money more than you want closeness with that person for example.  For the sake of today’s conversation, the problem isn’t that you’re lying to them. It’s that you’re telling yourself the story that you have to and because of that, you are losing your access to free will and the feeling of agency.        
Long story short, before we know it we have a job we have to go to, bills that have to be paid, a partner we have to please, kids we have to take care of, dogs we have to walk, a gym we have to go to, healthy food we have to eat etc.  We even manage to turn things that were once a ‘want to’ into a ‘have to’. This causes the pressure to build and build. We feel stress because not all parts of us are on board with what we are doing. We don’t feel free. We feel like a trapped slave in our own life.
Here are some suggestions for what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you ‘have to’.
How you speak has the capacity to affect your mentality greatly.  Every time you are going to say “I have to” change it to “I want to”.  This is going to mess with your brain at first. You will become conscious of the ways you are in opposition to your own sense of free will and why you are in that state of opposition.  You will be forced to face your actual feelings about the things you are doing in your life. You will be forced to acknowledge the truth within the universe that nothing is a have to. It is also easier to feel and recognize the parts of you that aren’t on board with what you are doing.  If you are choosing to do something that you feel is a ‘have to’, say, “I want to” and ask yourself why… Why am I doing it?  For example, “I want to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles”.  You will feel instant resistance to that statement inside. Then “why am I choosing to go?  Because I want to feel the relief of the pressure of having to renew my driver’s license when I can scratch it off of my to-do list”.  Saying ‘I want to’ connects you to your free will, your desires, values and motives. It will help you to see that you really shouldn’t be doing some things you are doing.  On top of this, “I have to” is a word that the mind has a negative association with. This will cause a negative feeling chemical release in the body, which will in turn cause you to form a negative association with whatever thing you are doing or considering doing.  Saying the word ‘have to’ relative to something decreases your motivation towards that thing every single time you say it. Remember that nothing is actually a ‘have to’.  There is only want and don’t want. If you feel like something is a ‘don’t want’, there are two distinct options.  The first is to find a way to not do it. The second is to change it or re-frame it so that you actually want to do it.  For example, there is a sink full of dishes in the kitchen.  If you take the road of finding a way not to do it, you could simply not do them and let them sit there until you feel the desire to do them… even if that means the food rots and your house is disgusting.  You could swap days with your roommate, you could pay a cleaner to come in or you could invent a device that does it for you for example.
If you take the road of changing it or re-framing it so that you actually want to do it, you could decide to find something in cleaning the dishes that aligns with something you really consciously want, so you suddenly feel motivated to do them.  For example, if you are really motivated to practice present moment meditation, the dishes could be a present moment mediation. For more information about this brilliant strategy, watch my video titled: Priceless Motivation Tip (Find The Self Serving Motive).  You could figure out what you hate about doing the dishes and resolve those things so it is a more pleasant activity. You could focus on your desire to have a clean house and how good it will feel to have a clear living space, so suddenly doing the dishes is a part of creating something you really want for example. Do parts work to address the two parts of you that are at odds, the one who wants to do it and the part that doesn’t want to do it, so as to create alignment between them.  A decision or choice that both of them can be on board with and that create a harmony between their currently seemingly opposing desires. To understand the basics about how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It). Take what you don’t want to do and completely play out not doing it mentally as far as you can.  We don’t usually ‘stare the devil in the face’ of choosing not to do something. We loosely feel, but can’t consciously see, the consequences of that choice.  If we can’t see the consequences of that choice, we can’t find ways to mitigate them and the part of us that is in resistance to doing whatever it is we don’t want to do, can’t be an active participant in the law of cause and effect.  It simply stays in an attitude of rebellion. For example, you don’t want to go in to work. So imagine not going. Imagine how your colleagues and boss would respond; imagine what you would do instead. Imagine both the payoffs and consequences of doing so as far as you want to play them out.  The unwanted parts of this experience will make you aware of what you really want and need. What are some other ways you could get those needs and desires met? When you do this exercise, you may just find your ‘have to’ changing into a ‘want to’. Remember how I said that we feel like we ‘have to’ do things when we are doing them in order to avoid a consequence rather than when we are doing them in order to create or bring about something that we want?  This means we can flip the way we are looking at something we don’t want to do so as to see how doing that thing creates what we really want. Why is doing this thing important? How is doing this thing a part of the vision of what you want?  How is it good for you? What will it accomplish? Who is it helping? What good are you creating for yourself and/or others by doing it?  Going back to the analogy of doing the dishes, you might not immediately think that cleaning dirty dishes matters, but those dishes are what you serve food to people on, and that food nourishes not only you, but also other people so that you and they can go out and do something good in the world in a healthy way. So connect whatever you are doing to the good that doing that thing does.  Find a personal, meaningful why behind doing what you choose to do.  Find a good enough because. Professional athletes know what most people don’t know and that is that you can add any meaning to discomfort that you want to.  Going for what you want is going to entail a certain amount of discomfort. The meaning we add to discomfort is everything. Most people assign the meaning ‘we need to stop’ or ‘not do what we are doing’ to discomfort.  This greatly limits your life. It means when you are faced with the inevitable downside of things you want, you might just give up and not do them. Every other suggestion I have given you in this article has been about either not doing something or getting yourself to feel good about what you are doing.  The hack I am suggesting as a final potential tool is to add different meaning to the discomfort of doing what you don’t want to do.  You could consider this the ultimate re-frame. For example, the burn in my muscles means I am getting stronger. The discomfort I feel doing this thing that is not fun to me means I am developing self-discipline, which makes me feel less out of control relative to myself.  Question the meaning you are adding to the discomfort inherent in something you don’t want to do. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. From there, change the meaning you are adding to the discomfort. This tip simply must come with a warning; this could be used as a tool of suppression. Life is about expansion.  Expansion occurs as a result of following your desire.  It is not virtuous to force yourself to do what you don’t want to do.  But following what is wanted will always give rise to what is unwanted as well.  This opens the door for things to be a ‘have to’. When you encounter these unwanted experiences, you have the choice to take them off of your plate (not do what you don’t want to do) or change them or your perception of them so that you want them on your plate (turn them into something you want to do).  The unwanted can diminish motivation and inspiration. However, motivation and inspiration is not completely out of your control. You can live a motivated and fulfilling life if your life philosophy changes from “”I have to” to “I want to”.

The Freedom/Connection Split Within Humanity

For years I have been saying that the evolution which must occur within the human race is “I can have you and I can have me too.”  This implies that autonomy and connection are not mutually exclusive, they are integrated. Most people today do not live in this state of integration between connection and autonomy.  Instead, they are split into two parts, one who fights for connection at any cost and one who fights for its own independent best interests at any cost. It’s important to know that this part’s fight for its own best interests feels like a fight for freedom.  Most people alive today have an internal split between the commitment to connection and the commitment to freedom. This means that humanity itself as a collective consciousness has this same split. To understand the concept of a split deeper, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.  You can also keep a lookout for a video I’m going to do shortly that will be specifically about how to work with the individual aspects of consciousness, what most people call “parts”.       
To understand this split, we have to go back to how it was made.  I want you to think back on your childhood. Every child is an individual entity and therefore has a self.  This means you had your our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings, preferences etc.  Think back on the way your parents and family and teachers and peers and even community or society responded to those thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings and preferences.  For example, were they acknowledged, accommodated, ignored or turned against? Were there consequences for them?  Most parents up to this time period do not view a child as an individual being; they view children as something to be created or molded into what they want them to be.
I’ll give you a seemingly benign example so you can get just how prevalent this issue is in the human race.  A mom is sitting with a child who is in a high chair. It is lunchtime. Mom says, “You need to eat your food”.  The child’s truth is that he or she is not hungry so the child refuses to eat. Mom does not acknowledge the child’s truth and so she force feeds the child or tells the child that he or she can’t come down out of the highchair until the food is finished.  Not only has moms’ anger been felt as a loss of closeness, which is acutely painful, the message is: I will not accept that part of you (the truth that you are not hungry). Therefore, to maintain closeness with me, you must abandon that truth and be what I tell you to be which is hungry, or at the very least, eat even if you aren’t hungry.  The child is at a crossroads. The child gets to choose to abandon his or her sense of self in that moment for the sake of feeling close to mom or fight for his or her sense of self and as a consequence, lose closeness with mom. This is the kind of scenario that causes a child’s boundaries to become unhealthy. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).
Let’s say that this belief that a child is to be molded, exists as a sliding scale.  Everyone’s parents and teachers and society falls somewhere on that sliding scale. To differing degrees of severity, we are trained that in order to have connection and closeness and belonging with other people (which is a bigger need than even food and water for a physical human) we must lose or let go of our self.  We must abandon or let go of or betray our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, preferences, and best interests. To have them, we can’t have ourselves or at the very least, parts of ourselves.  This is the only context we have for relationships and maintaining social harmony.  We woefully accept this truth but learn to associate connection with other people with things like self-sacrifice, duty, being controlled, being imprisoned, obligation and the constant effort of inauthenticity.  This is the origin of the belief in me vs. them. Does this mean that this is the reality? No. It’s simply a belief we have been trained into. So you can understand this split deeper, let’s look at both parts that are born from this belief.
The part of you that wants connection understands that so many needs (mental, emotional and physical) are dependent on connection and closeness with other people.  This part of you does not carry the pain that comes with connection, the other one does. It carries the pain of the lack of connection.  It is acutely aware of and does not want the starvation or pain of aloneness.  It is constantly bidding for connection in the things it says and does. It is not guarded.  It is open. If this part cannot get enough connection from people, it will connect with food, animals, objects or anything else where it can.  This part holds the universal truth of interdependence, that it is connected to everything. It understands that it has to be attuned to other people and that aloneness is the result of not considering others.
This part will slip into all kinds of coping mechanisms if it runs the risk of loosing connection with someone.  This part will not acknowledge anything that threatens its sense of closeness with someone. This includes incompatibility.  For this reason, it often suffers from denial and enables dysfunctional behavior and gaslights itself and others. This is the part that is always going to tell the story in favor of the positive.  It’s the one who will say, “He’s such a hard worker” to cover over the fact that he is really passed out because he is drunk. If this part runs the risk of separation, it will do whatever it takes to re-establish a perception of closeness and is not going to see doing so as self-sacrifice.  Really it isn’t self-sacrifice for this part of it gives up its own best interests because it sees its highest best interest as connection. Therefore, self-sacrifice is self-centered, because it is done to meet its own primary need. This co-dependent part of you really embodies the truth that there is no such thing as philanthropy, even if someone is acting like they are always doing things for others.
This part of you is never going to give up on being connected to others.  No matter how messed up and abusive your family is, it will stay around them.  It will tell the story that a dysfunctional family is “such a great family”. This part is the one making the Hollywood films about “all you need is love” and “where there is a will to be in a relationship, there is way.”  This part of you gets connection with others by disconnecting from other parts of you that might threaten connection. But by doing that, you are never bringing the totality of yourself into a relationship so you are never actually in a relationship.  The sad truth is that its connection with others is in fact an overlay.  It is alone in its perception of connection. This part of you is rather like Buddy from the movie Elf.    
The part of you that wants freedom is really not after freedom.  It is after autonomy, which is nothing more than the desire to exist in alignment with one’s sense of self.  This part has been really, really hurt and disillusioned by relationships. It wants to live in accordance with your truth, how you feel and think, what you want, your innate talents, your actual interests and to be able to do what is right and best for yourself.  It is in fact being controlled by the other connection-committed part more so than it is being controlled by other people. It feels like everything about relationships is too complicated. It feels like relationships are like Faberge eggs, they are fragile and if something goes wrong, there is no repair because no matter what you do, you can’t put it back together again.  It holds the pain of constantly being suppressed. It is conscious that if you have to change yourself to gain love and closeness, you are not actually close and you are not actually loved. This part is conscious of the extreme pressure of everyone’s needs of it. It sees its existence as a never-ending toil of being used by people. It doesn’t feel like a person, it feels like a tool to be used by people.  Responsibility is a huge pressure belonging to this part. It believes “I have to be responsible for me and them”, which it resents. So it says “NO” to taking responsibility for others. The reason it says “YES” to taking responsibility for itself is that it wants to find a way to not depend on anyone… To be able to have everything that it needs without it coming from anyone else. For this reason, it is hugely interested in spirituality and self-development.  It also sees that it is incredibly alone already so it is not in denial and risks nothing by admitting to reality. It doesn’t have an answer to remedy the powerlessness it feels in all of this painful “way it is” relative to relationships.    
This part thinks that if there is a conflict between you and another person, you are always loosing the fight. What this part cannot stand is the feeling of pushing itself sideways.  It doesn’t want to have to take in or owe anyone anything. For this reason, it does not bid for connection because if it bids, the other person is in control of how he or she responds or not.  Control is very important to this part, because control seems like the only way it can avoid compromising itself and thus, ending up in pain. The closest it can get to the idea that a relationship is safe, is transaction.  The safe, clear lines of transaction make it the best option. Its worldview is that everyone is only out for himself or herself. It’s like living in a shark tank. Its truth is that everyone around it is completely self-centered.  But here’s the stumbling block. Because it feels like everyone else is self-centered, it decides that it is just going to have to think about itself because no one else will. And by deciding this, it repeats the cycle.
This part is the one that was separated from (rejected) in order to be in a relationship.  After all, the message it received forever and still does is: If I go into a relationship as the real me, no one will ever want me and instead, they will hurt me.  Because of this, it sees relationships as pain. If it were convinced that never having a relationship was the best answer, it would have gone there long ago. For this part, having a relationship with people is like eating poisoned water. It’s a “fuck you for the fact that I need this”.  Unlike the other one, it feels like being alone is better than being trapped, but being alone sucks. Unlike the other part, this one will viciously fight for its needs and best interests. It will fight for its “self”. It will also criticize the hell out of a person and relationship in the hope that the other person will change so as to put it out of pain.  The criticism is an attempt to control the other person’s behavior. Its orientation is towards what it doesn’t want in a relationship where as the other part is oriented towards what it does want.  This part of you is rather like Scrooge from a Christmas carol.   
When you have this split, relationships are a downward spiral that goes like this:  The connection part of you is the one that takes control and seeks a relationship because you feel alone.  You get into a relationship quickly because you are doing anything it takes to secure a relationship. And to do so, you have to disown parts of yourself that might cause separation or rejection.  This means you are not going into a relationship with the truth or the totality of yourself. You show only what the other need and wants to see; only what you know will guarantee you closeness.  You look so good and so tempting to the other person it is almost too good to be true. Then when the connection is secure, the pain of that suppression and inauthenticity causes the other part that is committed to autonomy to come forward and take over instead.  This part contains all the parts that you decided to disown. Those parts now come forward because they were suppressed in order for the other one to secure the relationship. They start screaming for freedom. They start demanding for their needs to be met and for the other person to act in their best interests.  They fight for themselves against the person they love.  The other person now feels duped.  For example, suddenly you go from a person who says you are responsible to being not responsible. You go from being gorgeous to letting yourself go.  You go from saying you are a financial provider to suddenly expecting your partner to financially provide for you. You go from loving to constantly critical.   The person you are now is nothing like the person you entered into the relationship as. All of the ways you actually think and feel and what you really want and the ways you go about trying to get your actual needs met, destroy the relationship which was in fact built on pretense.  The relationship now becomes oppositional so ruptures are created. And both people think, “Where did my perfect relationship go”? 
You can see this split clearly in yourself any time you feel you have to choose connection or closeness or social harmony vs. your own best interests.  It is tempting to think that this type of scenario is always about your best interests vs. another person’s best interests. But it isn’t. It’s the best interest belonging to your own two parts being pitted against each other.  In other words, you feel this split any time your own best interest of (fill in the blank) conflicts with your own best interest of connection.
This split was created to accommodate for uncomplimentary needs.  In the past, your need for autonomy could not exist in the same place and time as your need for connection.  Each part of you also keeps you safe from the opposite threat. Your connection part keeps you safe from isolation.  Your freedom part keeps you safe from the loss of self. But the time has come to recognize this split within yourself and within humanity so that we may integrate them and create a world in which freedom and connection are one… A world in which all of our relationships are relationships where we can have ourselves and have each other at the very same time.

What Your Parents Did Right

Most of the videos that I create are aimed at helping you to recognize and change patterns that are detrimental to you in your adult life.  In order to fully understand these patterns, we have to go back to why and how they were installed in the first place. Inevitably, this brings us back to your early childhood environment, most especially to the relationship and interaction with your primary caregivers.  For most people, this is your parents and beyond that, family of origin.
For the pure sake of comprehension, I ask you to not engage in a philosophical debate on the concept of right and wrong in this minute.  The path of awakening and awareness will lead you to becoming conscious of what your parents did “wrong”. If you are unable to see what they did wrong, you will adopt and pass on the detrimental patterns they unconsciously instilled in you.  Many people are terrified that by seeing this “wrongness” and changing the patterns, they will somehow lose love and connection and belonging and closeness with their parents. This means that social cohesion becomes the excuse to make excuses for detrimental patterns and the excuse not to change.  This also unfortunately means that the majority of people who are drawn to awakening in the first place had parents with whom they felt no real love, belonging, connection and closeness. In other words, they have less to lose.
I must say here that it is not inevitable that you will lose connection and closeness with your parents by becoming aware.  In fact, multi generational shifts are only possible when one questions one’s own family patterns. This means it is possible to get closer with your family by becoming aware.  There are many factors involved. For anyone who is determined to maintain those family connections at any cost, for those of you that have a hard time looking at what your parents did wrong, you will have no issue with this exercise.  However, for those of you who feel so damaged by your parents and family that any closeness feels painful, this exercise will be a real challenge.
People are black and white thinkers.  There are many reasons for this. The state of cognitive dissonance that is caused by holding contradictory beliefs, ideas, values or perceptions, causes us distress.  It makes it very heard for us to feel in-alignment and make decisions that feel right. Here are some examples: We love to smoke cigarettes, but we know they could cause us to develop cancer.  We think blacks are poor but then we run into one at a five star resort. We love a political candidate and find out they have sexual kinks that contradict our sense of their character. We find out that someone murdered someone else, but they also run one of the most successful non-profit companies, which has saved hundreds of lives.
If we see our parents as all-good, we have established mental and emotional harmony.  We can go to thanksgiving dinner and excuse away or justify any negative pattern we see and feel great about our family.  If we see our parents as all-bad, we have also established a kind of mental and emotional harmony. We can refuse to go to thanksgiving dinner and invalidate any positive pattern we see and consider ourselves justified in cutting them off from our life entirely.  We begin to feel torn when we see both the positive and negative about them.
Awareness is a two-sided coin.  We live in a universe of polarity and contrast.  This means that in order to become fully aware, we must develop AND Consciousness.  The feeling of being torn between two extremes or seemingly opposing truths feels a lot like being stretched.  And this stretching is in fact a feeling often experienced in conjunction with personal expansion. True awakening requires you to expand wide enough to be able to accommodate extremes and contradictions.  This in fact makes the contradictions complimentary.
In the moment that you acknowledge a contradictory truth or state of being and expand wide enough to be able to hold both, you have dis-identified with both extremes.  You have ceased to become either-or and instead have become the thing that is holding both. By holding both, instead of aspects of your self being separated by them, you have created a state of integration or wholeness within your being.  You have also stepped into the realm of choice. Essentially, ‘And Consciousness’ becomes the unifying factor. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way).
It is very damaging to not recognize and change the detrimental patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society.  But guess what? It is also detrimental to not recognize and completely reject the positive patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society.  The idea in terms of expansion is to continue patterns that are beneficial and change ones that are not. All things in existence contain both polarities of positive and negative. And even this is not black and white because a negative in one situation could be a positive in another and vice versa.  I want you to understand that when you came into this embodiment, you opted into a deck of cards. I will debate you in the future about the value of those “low value cards”. But for the sake of really grasping this concept, understand that in that deck of cards you inherited upon your birth and upbringing, some of those cards are crap and some are awesome!  For example, maybe you were born Mexican and this means you adopted a pattern of guilt. But because you were born Mexican, you also adopted a pattern of festivity.    
Today, we are going to make a practice of deliberately looking for the awesome cards in the deck.  Your assignment for this week is to become aware of the positive polarity of your parents and this includes what they did right.  To take this further, just like you do with negative patterns, see how what they did right created a positive outcome in who you are and your life today.
For example, maybe your mother did awesome with holidays and so you always loved them growing up and so now, you are the person who decorates and leads celebrations and makes days special for others and who has something to look forward to every year.  Maybe your father was very good with money and taught you the value of never being in debt and so today, you are one of those rare people who are not in debt and who feels financially stable instead.  
I’ll give you some examples from my own life.  Both my parents had insane work ethics. They instilled this in me very early and so today, that is a big reason why I have such an incredibly high work ethic.  They were animal lovers who were also super knowledgeable about animals and worked for the humane society. I was surrounded in animals from the moment I was born.  Not only do I have a deep knowledge of animals now, but I love them and feel super comfortable around them and this is a big reason my life is so rich today. Animals made me much less of a controlling and uptight person as well.  Neither of my parents ever stood in my way if I wanted something. They both had a huge respect for personal purpose/calling. As a result, I am not burdened like so many people are by the perception of “can’t”. As an adult, I have nothing holding me back internally.  
My mother, who is an activist, refused to have us grow up ignorant so whenever we went on trips to different places, she wouldn’t just let us live it up at luxury resorts.  She’d drag us into the heart of the reality of the culture. I remember going to Mexico and walking through an collection of super poor venders, some of whom had their dying or sick babies or old relatives under their tables so they could sell things while taking care of them at the same time.  I hated this growing up, but now I think it was the best thing she ever did. It is a big part of why I am a humanitarian who is not in a “bubble of a perceptual reality” today. My mother comes from an intellectual family. She is also a feminist. She always celebrated intellectual debate and congratulated me for forming strong opinions.  This is a big reason why now, I am a woman in the world who is both leading and confidently offering my opinions, which is a big step for the empowerment of not only myself but also women.  
My father comes from a diplomatic family and as such, he inherited a real talent and skill for oration.  It was one of the main reasons I opted into his lineage to begin with. His speech patterns and diplomatic way of communicating is a big reason why I am able to convey such complex concepts in a way that people can understand it.  He gifted me with the power of speech. My father is an incredible skier and used to be a competitive ski racer. He put me on skis when I was two years old. It was one of my favorite ways to bond with him growing up and I went on to become a professional skier.  Skiing saved my life when I was 18 years old. It has made me fall in love with an entire season. It is one of my favorite things to do on earth and now, my own son skis so it is a way for us to connect as well.
Now it’s your turn.  If it triggers you to even think about the positive of your parents or of what your parents did right, ask yourself why.  Ask yourself: What bad thing might happen if I see the good or the right in them?  To do this exercise, get a piece of paper and write down as many positives as you can come up with about your parents and all the things that they did right.  Then become aware of how those things positively influenced you and positively impacted who you are and your life today. It can also work to do it backwards by looking at the positive traits you have today and to trace them backward to see if their origins might just be something your parents did right.
No matter who your parents are or were, the reality is that they had positives as well as negatives within them.  If you become aware enough, you will see that they did things right and they did things wrong. If you’re able to see the both, you have the greatest chance of becoming aware of and drawing upon the positive resources you do have as well as discarding the patterns that no longer work for you.  You have the greatest chance of truly awakening.

The Baby and The Bathwater Pattern (The Pattern That Keeps You Both Losing and Starving)

In English speaking cultures, we have a saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”.  It is a saying that means to convey wisdom expressed as a warning. This expression means don’t unintentionally get rid of something good or useful because you recognize something as all bad or are trying to get rid of its negative aspects.  It means don’t reject the favorable along with the unfavorable. But this is what so many of us do in our life and in our relationships and as a result, we end up in an all-negative world, unintentionally starving ourselves of resources.
A few examples of throwing the baby out with the bathwater are: A company has a very diligent accountant. This accountant is passive aggressive in company conflicts.  As a result, the company fires him instead of keeping him on for his skills while finding ways to minimize or mitigate the impact of this flaw on his fellow employees.  A woman has had a very close friend for years. Despite that friend having proven her loyalty and value, when they have a minor conflict over a difference of opinion, this woman ends the friendship.  A teacher is full of all kinds of amazing information. The student perceives him to be off base when it comes to one or two of his teachings and as a result, the student begins to doubt all of his teachings and decides to not learn from him or listen to him anymore.  A couple had a four-year relationship. During that time, they both gained a lot. But when they break up, they devalue the relationship and each other in entirety and say it was a waste of four years of their life.
What people don’t know is that this pattern does not only cause us to lose valuable things in our life, it causes us to not even take them in or use them as resources in the first place.  And it is this aspect of this pattern that causes us to unintentionally starve ourselves. Some examples of this are: A company is in the process of hiring a new manager. They are looking at hiring an accomplished and overqualified man who is deaf.  They worry that the other employees will not take him seriously as a leader on account of the way that he occasionally mispronounces his words. So they don’t hire him. A woman is dating a man. He is affectionate and committed and it is the best time she has ever had with a man, but he is still a friend to his ex girlfriend and this woman can’t live with his refusal to end that friendship, so she decides not to get into a committed relationship with him.  A man needs friendship badly. Every person he meets seems to meet some of his criteria for friendship, but not others. For example, one person is super fun to hang out with, but is flaky. The other is incredible at having deep, reflective conversation but isn’t very helpful when he needs her to actually lend a hand. The other is really helpful, but is dumb as a stump. Instead of simply valuing them for what each is good at and going to one vs. another when he has a specific need, he writes them all off and says he has no friends.  Here’s another example that most people might not catch. A woman has a friend who gives her compliments often. This friend gives her one negative reflection and suddenly, she feels like all of the positive feedback she has been given was a lie and so she disqualifies all of it and therefore it is no longer a resource for her self esteem. She also can’t take any further compliments she is given by this friend seriously.
When we are stuck in this pattern, we are stuck in a pattern of subconscious disqualification and rejection.  The thing is, we will always, always be able to find something that disqualifies someone or something or that allows us to justify rejecting the totality of something because of an aspect of it.  I have a really good example of this. On the first day of one of my events, a woman stood up and said “I can’t take anything that you are saying seriously… I mean, you are supposed to be a spiritual guru or something, but here you are wearing high heels on grass.  How am I supposed to take a woman seriously who wears high heels on grass?” And she vindictively thanked me for being the person who made her aware that she was ready to step up and be a spiritual teacher herself and literally walked out of the retreat demanding a refund.
When we are stuck in this pattern, what we are really doing is trying to avoid fear and pain.  When we have been hurt in our interpersonal relationships, we become ‘guillotine happy”. Any little thing that even mildly suggests that it could lead to us getting hurt, makes us reject something or even cut it off in its entirety.  People who struggle with this in close relationships often struggle with intimacy phobia. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Fear of Intimacy (How to Overcome Your Fear Of Intimacy).  
When we are afraid something may hurt us, we don’t want to keep it or let it in to begin with.  Receiving any part of something is dependent upon something being completely safe in its entirety.  But very few things in life (if any) actually meet this qualification. So we end up starving. Because shadows around receiving are such a key element of this dynamic, I suggest you watch my video titled: How to Receive.
Also, when we have this pattern, we tend to not be able to clearly see and hold space for people’s excellence and deficiencies at the same time.  Because of this, we fail to put them in the proper place in our lives. For example, a man in a woman’s life is super sexy and adventurous. But he is more committed to his own fun than to the happiness of other people so he is unreliable when he is needed by others.  Because of what she needs in a partner, he is incompatible to her as a partner. But if she cuts him off entirely, she may be losing someone who can add incredible zest to her life and someone who is able to offer her tons of adventure as a friend. It may be beneficial to think of people in your life like puzzle pieces.  Instead of disqualifying a person for not being every piece in the entire puzzle, you need to consider each person to be a valuable part of the overall puzzle. If you put them in the right place considering their specific areas of excellence and intrinsic nature and gifts, all of them suddenly represent incredible value to the overall picture of your life.  You will experience an abundant life where you can actually recognize which need of yours can be met where, because you will suddenly recognize yourself to be surrounded with valuable resources. We need to recognize compatibilities and incompatibilities in order to figure out where to fit someone into the puzzle of our lives and what to resource them for. For this reason, it would greatly benefit you to watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.
The reality is that you will always be able to find negatives and unfavorable things about anything you look at.  If that causes you to get rid of everything or not take anything in, you will end up feeling alone and unsupported in a desert of a world where none of your needs can be met.  You will miss the gift inherent in every single living and non-living thing. The time has come to adopt the challenge of recognizing and keeping and taking in the value of each thing in existence.

How To Enjoy The Holidays (Especially If You Hate Them)

Holidays are supposed to be those times of the year that we enjoy the most, times of celebration and pleasure and togetherness.  Even if people love holidays, nearly everyone gets stressed out on the holidays and this decreases the overall enjoyment of them.  But for some of us, holidays can be the absolute worst times of the year. Many of us have so much pain around holidays that we have learned to hate them.  The problem is that the holidays never stop coming and so for many of us; they are just something that we have to get through as fast as we can. If you are one of these people, this video is for you.  
Today, I’m not just going to teach you from a transcendental or objective perspective.  I’m going to also teach you from personal experience. I spent the first half of my life hating holidays.  They were the most painful times of year. But today, I can officially say that Holidays (especially Christmas) are now my favorite times of year.  And with a shift in perspective and action, you might just begin to love them too. This is how you can come to enjoy the holidays:    
Don’t buy into that “just focus positive” or “you’re just being a negative Nancy or a humbug” rhetoric.  Changing your perspective about the holidays is about deep healing. It is not as simple and just putting on a smile or focusing positive.  The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved. One of the best ways to make yourself miserable during any holiday if you have had negative experiences with them before is to expect yourself to be happy or put on a happy face or even worse, to enjoy the holiday.  You will fail. This is no more unrealistic than it is to expect someone who had been bitten by a shark to feel happy and carefree swimming. Be honest about where you are with yourself. The reality is you hate holidays and you want to like them. So go towards them with that desire and a commitment to openness and curiosity about how to change your relationship with them instead.
  The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved.  This is something you’re going to have to face and work at, not just avoid or hope changes on its own.  You are not wrong to hate holidays. You have every reason to hate them. You would not hate them unless they have been extremely painful for you.  Why do you hate them? What are those painful memories or painful expectations associated with them? How could you make those different or create the opposite experience this time?  I have created a process to resolve this kind of pain . It is called the Completion Process. To use the Completion Process to resolve the pain associated with holidays, just focus on what you hate about the holidays and what you expect to go wrong during them until you feel pain or resistance build somatically in your body and use that as your doorway to the unresolved experience from your past.  To learn how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is literally titled The Completion Process. Doing this process will clearly show you what unmet need you had around the holidays and/or what you need to have be different. From there, you can consciously start to meet those needs and make the holidays different.
I know that many people who hate holidays don’t really care to prioritize resolving holiday trauma.  But let me offer a perspective that may change this for you. Life throws enough negative curveballs.  If you don’t resolve holiday trauma, what you have is guaranteed future pain. Holidays will not stop coming no matter what continent you’re on.  So you have a guarantee that every year, multiple times a year, you’re going to feel disappointed, be hurt again, resent other people, be the bad guy for ruining everyone else’s cheery mood and feel alienated and like you don’t belong because everyone else seems to fit into society by loving the holidays and keeping up dumb traditions.  I for one couldn’t live with that multiple times a year guarantee of re-traumatization hanging over my head.
  Stop justifying your hate for the holidays with the shadows in holidays.  People who have pain around holidays don’t want to face and resolve that vulnerability.  The way they cover up that vulnerability and very personal pain is by justifying their hatred of the holidays using the unconscious or negative side of the holidays.  For example: Valentines Day is just an excuse for card companies and candy companies to sell their products. It should be called singles awareness day instead. Christmas is just a time for consumerism and destroying the world with plastic toys that kids play with for three seconds.  Besides, the only reason people even care about the homeless suddenly on Christmas is because they all want to feel good about themselves, so it’s actually disgustingly egotistical. Thanksgiving is just some dumb day where we over eat with people who annoy the hell out of us. I mean, we killed all the Native Americans anyway, we shouldn’t even be celebrating it… it’s like a bitch slap to an entire culture.  Screw birthdays, people are too self-centered to actually care. Plus, I don’t need any more reminders of how old I’m getting etc. You get the point. The thing is, you are totally right about these shadows. There are lots of totally crap sides to holidays. And you are totally right that most people are totally unconscious of them. But focusing on the shadows in the holidays is just a cover for personal pain.  If it weren’t, you’d simply not make those painful parts of holidays a part of the way that you celebrate them. And consider that awareness is two sided. You may just be totally unconscious of the positive side inherent in holidays. And continuing to focus on all those holiday shadows will continue to motivate you to reject them instead of resolve your pain about them and learn to love them and celebrate them in the way that is uniquely right for you.
  Stop being passive about your holiday experience.  Be active and involved instead. When life has gone crap for us because other people haven’t been super concerned with our actual best interests, we develop a ‘life happens to me’ perspective.  Holidays happen to us. This keeps us in the cycle of disappointment. To get out of it, you need to initiate it actually being different. This means planning ahead. You’re going to have to be the one to change it into something other than what it is.  Grab the bull by the horns and allow yourself to have some control over your experience. Make the experience what you want it to be. Be the one to get others on board with this too. It is empowering and once you do it, it will shock you to realize how many other people are just passively hoping that holidays will somehow magically go different each year for them.  The reality is, they wont unless they actively change something.
  Take a look at your holiday habits and actively take steps to change them.  For example, you may know by now that you habitually confront everyone on their shadows and become the family scapegoat again, take all the responsibility for the entire holiday so everyone else just shows up, overspend, passively wait for others to make it a good holiday for you and get disappointed when they don’t, overeat, get drunk, say yes to everything and everyone and then feel depleted, take responsibility for bringing people together who don’t put in any energy into togetherness themselves.  Get stressed doing everything last minute ect. Just like a chess game with yourself, get ahead of these habits and shortcut this subconscious momentum by planning so you don’t slip into these habits again. For example, plan how to avoid conflicts, commit to limiting yourself to one glass of wine, exercise the morning of the holiday, commit to the practice of saying no to what you don’t really want to do, give people a date to show up and don’t nag them to come after you have done that, let them take their part of the responsibility of being connected instead.  Budget and don’t go over that budget. Ensure that other people share responsibility for the day. Simplify your holiday to do list. Start shopping months ahead of time etc.
  Mine the coal for diamonds.  Experiencing the positive in the holidays entails learning about the holidays, their origins and also how they evolved.  Also how they are celebrated around the world. Also thinking about your own culture or family’s traditions. What you are going to do here is to mine the holidays for what the important parts of each holiday are for you.  What does spark joy? What is worth celebrating? What do you love? There is nothing wrong with doing away with traditions that you don’t like, keeping or adding new ones you do like and borrowing from other cultures etc. For example, maybe you hate the tradition of the thanksgiving turkey, but you love the idea of potluck style feasts.  Maybe don’t spent the holiday with people who you know hurt you every year. Spend it with close friends instead. Consider it like mining through coal for the collection of diamonds inherent in each holiday. Having done this, you’re going to move to the next step.
  Create holidays that are like a cocktail of traditions and practices and experiences that you love and that feel right for you.  The worst thing you can do is to simply go through the motions of holidays as if there is nothing you can do about it because it’s just the way things are done.  This means you’re going to have to actively plan and seek out and create those diamond experiences. If it is your birthday, don’t wait for someone to mess up your birthday or test how much they love you by not telling anyone and seeing if someone calls.  Instead, really actively plan and create a day that you want to have.
  Get off the fence of obligation.  Obligation is a kind of ‘sitting on the fence state’ whereby you wont say a full yes or a full no to an experience.  The part of you that is subconsciously committed to doing something bulldozes the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing.  This is a form of self-betrayal. Work with those opposing parts of yourself to find a meeting of minds or a third option between them that feels good to them both.  To understand more about how to do this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. I am also going to be doing a video soon specifically on parts work that you can look out for. Take a really serious look at those obligations and obligatory gatherings and decide to either fully commit to them with your free will or to not do it or to do something entirely different.  Living at the mercy of obligation is no kind of life and it will make for a terrible holiday. In fact obligation has a similar vibration to indebtedness. Why are you committed to doing what you don’t want to do and why don’t you want to do it?
  Don’t be afraid to celebrate holidays on different days than the actual holiday.  This is a tip that can be one of the most life changing. Believe it or not, but the body holds memory and acts like a biological clock.  If you’ve had trauma around holidays, your body memory is activated on those days. It takes time to un-do that programming. You can disrupt this programming by surprising your biology and celebrating Christmas on the 24th or your birthday on the weekend before or after the actual day.  You have no association to those days, so you can build a new one. You are much more likely to be able to really enjoy it this way. Eventually if you want, once you’ve healed your relationship to holidays, you can go back to celebrating on the actual day and you won’t have the same reaction.
Celebrating holidays on different days than the actual holiday also helps with family problems.  It is in your camp to decide whether it is healthy for you to be around your family or not. For some of you, it’s just an act of self-betrayal.  But for those of you that hate the way holidays go with the family and know exactly what crap to expect each year, but who also have decided to continue celebrating with family, you have two options.  The first is to try to get the family to adopt new traditions and/or ways of doing things. The second is to just play along with it all. If you play along with it all, celebrating the holiday your way on a different day means that you have already really enjoyed it your way.  The family can’t ‘ruin’ your holiday cause you already did it. Instead, you’re going to show up for the traditional family experience and put your energy into giving them what they want on that day.
  When it comes to the people in your family that ruin holidays for you and are not open to a vulnerable, authentic discussion about how to make that different, accept that the people in your family are not going to change.  You will be surprised at how much this can reduce your holiday pain. Give up on them being the picture perfect family, the source of the perfect gift or the perfect experience. Separate your needs from them being the ones to meet those needs.  After all, you’ve never been able to control them into being that have you? The expectation that magically one day it will be different is one of the biggest ways to hurt yourself. Your resistance to the way they are makes perfect sense, but it isn’t going to make them change.  It is only going to leave you chronically disappointed and hurt. For example, if mom can be expected to get you something that you don’t even care about from the dollar store, go there expecting this and not hoping it will be different this year. If dad can be expected to interrogate you about what ‘not up to par’ things you’re doing with your life, surround yourself with people who see the value of what you’re doing and go there prepared with answers to give him beforehand.
  Focus much more on the holiday experience you’re going to give people than on the holiday experience you’re going to get.  When we have trauma around holidays, our pain is about the experiences we didn’t get.  As a result, we become self-focused relative to holidays. This actually compounds the pain and causes us to give off an unconscious energy of ‘expecting and taking from and being disappointed by’ other people.  This point is actually the reason that most ‘holiday haters’ start to like aspects of holidays once they have kids. But you don’t have to have children to change this orientation. It feels amazing to actively create enjoyment in other people’s lives.  Throw them a party, take them to see the lights, surprise them with a great gift, bake them something, write them a letter, volunteer for a charity, make a child’s Christmas wish come true, organize a get together, offer them a holiday experience from another culture they’ve never tried.  My holidays really started to change when I started baking all of my neighbors rum cakes and making them handmade candy every Christmas. It was then that I really experienced the opposite of being victimized by holidays. I could be the change I wanted to see in the world relative to them.  And watching their faces light up was infinitely more empowering and felt better than any present anyone could give me. It was also profoundly healing to offer the holiday experiences I never got to have to other people.
  Many people experience pain on the holidays because of lost loved ones.  There is no doubt that the absence of loved ones on the holidays or even painful memories of losing loved ones on holidays can create a powerfully painful association relative to holidays.  Something people don’t usually realize is that they hold onto pain as a token of love for whoever they have lost a sense of connection with. That pain becomes their way of staying connected.  One of the biggest barriers to enjoying the holidays can be the fact that if this is what we are subconsciously doing, we suffer through the holidays without them instead of commit to enjoying them instead as a way of staying connected with them.  For example, enjoying Christmas without them seems like a betrayal to them and suffering feels like you’re proving your love and commitment to them. If you think this might be the case for you, you would benefit by doing the guided meditation on my website that is titled:  Replacing The Pain. Ask yourself what they would want for you? What is the best way to honor them or make them feel good if they were looking down on you on this holiday?
  Try to expand your consciousness by seeking the beauty and positive in holidays in general.  Ritual is an important part of human health. Humans have been creating holidays since the beginning of time.  There has to be a valuable reason why. For example: They give people an excuse to celebrate and deliberately create enjoyment.  They stimulate the senses. They mark and highlight what is important to us. They can imbue life with significance and specialness and meaning.  They create certainty and predictability in pleasure. They are something to look forward to. They can enhance the gastronomical experience. They can create a sense of continuity, connection and nostalgia across generations.  They are times to connect and gather which is vital to human health. They are times to consciously demonstrate love and enhance social ties and social glue. Group ritual also is critical for children’s developmental health. Look into what value they hold and ask people who love them to tell you why. When it comes to the holidays, don’t expect that hallmark moment or try to force it.  Even though people’s holiday albums may deceive you, no one’s family or actual experience is like that.  Life (which just so happens to include triggers and needs and mistakes) doesn’t stop for the holidays unfortunately.  Those perfect moments will come when you least expect it. And you can find new ways to keep each holiday meaningful and to take charge of creating ‘uniquely you holidays’ that you can look forward to every year.

How To Be Productive

People are interested in success and one of the key features of success is productivity.   Productivity is essentially our effectiveness when it comes to making, causing, providing or creating something.  There are definite things that cause a decrease in our productivity and definite things that cause an increase in it.  Today, I’m going to share with you some of my top secrets about what makes people productive.  
Intrinsic motivation.  When your behavior is driven by internal rewards, you will be productive.  You don’t even have to try to be. When we are intrinsically motivated, the motivation to do something is because the doing of it is naturally satisfying you.  If you put a monkey in a cage with a puzzle, it will play with the puzzle because doing so is naturally satisfying. No one has to extrinsically motivate the monkey to do it.  If the monkey has to be fed treats for him or her to be motivated to play with the puzzle, he or she is extrinsically motivated. This is a recipe for productivity disaster. This is one reason why work environments in which people are motivated primarily by a paycheck are the least productive work environments in the world.  You will not have the wave of energy within you to accomplish a task if you have no intrinsic motivation, instead it will feel like it takes the forced effort of drudgery to do it. Intrinsic motivation is why a scientist can spend years in a lab until they emerge with a theory. Intrinsic motivation is why an athlete can dedicate their entire existence to a 10 second race. 
This is one of the reasons why contrary to most popular advice, many people (but not all) do better when their day is not structured.  They don’t follow a set routine. Instead, it is an intuitive, felt based and organic interaction with their day as that day occurs. These people organize their day according to inspiration. When there is inspiration, you can ride the wave of that inspiration and take inspired action steps. If you do whatever inspires you, even if a task is difficult to do, it takes no forced effort to do it and takes much less time to do as well.
If you don’t have intrinsic motivation or inspiration to do something, it is time to question why you are dedicating your time and energy to something that is not naturally satisfying.  It is time to re-evaluate your life.
  If you aren’t automatically intrinsically motivated, but you are still determined to continue to dedicate your time and energy to it, find something within that thing that doesn’t motivate you that really does intrinsically motivate you.  For example, imagine that someone is totally unmotivated to help others.  But this person loves problem solving. If someone in their life has a problem, they can set the intention of honing their skill of problem solving and suddenly, they will feel motivated to do it. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Priceless Motivation Tip (Find The Self Serving Motive).
  Act on inspiration immediately.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they don’t ride the wave of intrinsic motivation fast enough. When you have an idea that also contains the seed of inspiration, bringing it to fruition is like surfing. You have a very limited amount of time to ride a wave to shore. In the same way, you have a very limited amount of time to jump on the wave of inspiration. This means, act immediately.  Don’t say “I’m gonna do that in a couple hours or tomorrow or someday”. You literally have seconds or minutes. I’ve been known to stop everything I’m doing or clear the schedule or turn the car around in order to take my first action step that is in alignment with the fruition of the idea. Take that first step the second it occurs to you.
  Deal with resistance the minute it arises.  Most people think productivity is accomplished by bulldozing resistance.  The opposite is true. To understand resistance, I want you to imagine a lake.  In this lake, there is a boat. This boat has 6 oarsmen in it, each of whom have a paddle.  Some of the oarsmen are paddling in one direction. Some of them are paddling in the opposite direction.  These oarsmen are in resistance to each other. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force.  We can meet with opposition from the outside and we can meet with opposition from the inside.  Resistance makes it much harder to actually accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. It is essential to resolve the resistance first.  The rule of thumb for success is this:  If you have any resistance-taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else.  No action should be taken from a place of resistance.  When it comes to productivity, this is a particular problem when we have competitive commitments, interests, desires or goals.  To understand this in depth, watch my videos titled: Urgent, Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else and Bulldozing (The Way To Ruin Your Relationship With Yourself).  Doing this is like pulling an anchor up so your ship can sail rather than buying more sails so they stand more of a chance against your anchor.
  Do what you are excellent at.  This may sound strange at first but if someone is excellent at something, it will take much less effort for them to do that thing and they will be much more productive naturally.  Your area of excellence will be something you take for granted. A company or system can only be genuinely productive when people are placed correctly in their positions of excellence.
  Don’t think in terms of hours; think in terms of results.  Think of the completion of a task and the quality of what is produced.  A genuinely successful business is not based on hours. Super successful people see what they produce as a reflection on themselves.  They take the responsibility therefore for that which they produce. This means that it is in their hands whether they dedicate two hours to something or three full days to something.  It’s about what they produce, not about the time it took to produce it. People who are not successful have an ‘earning’ mentality. Where value is based on their time, not their results.
  Every day, assess what needs to be done according to what the actual priority is and why.  It is critical that you prioritize correctly before you throw your energy into something. Many people become distracted and scattered because they don’t do this. Your energy should pour into whatever the highest priority is at any given time. And be open to the idea that it may seem counterintuitive. For example, if getting a massage is what it will take to get you to be able to have enough energy to pour yourself into a high priority project, then getting a massage may be the highest priority.  And don’t forget to factor into the prioritization to do your most challenging tasks when you have the most energy to tackle them. For most people, this is in the morning.
  Make lists and cross items off of the list once they are completed.  It may sound trite and obvious but the reason that this item is such a cornerstone of success tips is because it actually works.  Try not to overwhelm yourself with this list. If you make a large to-do list, consider that this is helping you so none of your mental energy has to be directed towards keeping track of any of it.  But break it into smaller ones, specifically smaller goals.
Often, you will not be able to plot out the entire process of something being brought to fruition because many of the steps, you can’t see yet.  This is ok, plan to add to this to-do list and re-assess priorities daily. It is ok if the process looks like finishing the first step and seeing what the second step is then taking that second step and seeing what the third step is. If this is the case, just keep putting one foot in front of the other until the idea is brought to life.
  Focus on the first priority item all the way to completion until moving on to the next. The only exception to this rule should be if something that is truly higher priority comes up.  Truly productive people focus on completion of a task. When it comes to productivity, it is better if open-ended items bother you. If they don’t, your energy can become scattered and scattered energy is a recipe for lack of productivity.  You are really going to have to be honest with yourself if you have the capacity to multi task. Even if you can, you have to admit it may not be the best idea if you want to really focus on something through to completion. Also, it is a real energy boost to be able to cross something off of your list so it is no longer looming over your head.
  Become aware of where your energy is going.  People often feel confused about their lack of productivity without consciously realizing that their energy is not actually going towards what they are wanting and without realizing what their focus is actually on.  One of the most eye opening things you can do is to keep track of yourself over the course of a few days. Keep a journal with you and write down what you are doing and for how long. Every time you change focus or do something else, write it down.  For example: 8:00-8:20 getting ready in bathroom. 8:20-8:45 eating breakfast. 8:45-9:15 driving to work and listening to self esteem podcast. 9:15- 9:20, walking from parking garage to desk. 9:20 – 11:00 in a marketing meeting. 11:00- 11:20 arguing with girlfriend over the phone.  You get the point. At the end of the exercise, assess where your time and energy is actually going and how you feel about that. It usually blows people away how little energy they are putting towards the things they actually want and need to put energy towards. And don’t be surprised if you find that you spend a lot more time thinking about doing things than actually doing them.
  Be aware of when the time has come to delegate and when that time does come, delegate.  Productivity slows when there is too much on one person’s plate. That person includes you.  The day will come when the only way to remain productive or become more productive is to get help or hire people and productivity is exponentially increased when those people you delegate tasks to are even better at doing them than you are.
  De-clutter.  One thing that people don’t realize impedes productivity and forward movement is when space is not cleared for that movement and for the new.  The environment you work in absolutely impacts your energy and effectiveness. Throw away or store old papers. Clean your workspace. Delete things from your computer you don’t need anymore or put it all in one place and store it all externally.  Create the space for clarity. Be in control of your canvas. One of the most important parts of the de-cluttering process is to make sure not to clutter your awareness or space before you focus on a task. For example, if you wanted to write a book, checking your e-mail first before you sit down to write will clutter your mind with other people’s energy, things other people want from you and answers you have to give.  Looking at the news may create a clutter of new worries. Cluttering your morning with some small tasks before you get down to your main focus may deplete you and scatter your energy. Simplify, simplify, simplify. It is critical to remove tangible and intangible distractions.
  When you feel a lull in productivity happening, stop and re-evaluate.  Don’t be afraid of doing this. Being able to switch horses mid stream is a quality of highly successful people.  It is highly unproductive to continue doing something that does not work or that is not effective in the way you’re going about it.  It is necessary to step back, re-assess the situation, see the big picture (including what’s working and what isn’t, what needs to change, your relationship to the whole thing) and to be able to change course if need be.
  Set up systems.  Systems are nothing more than repeatable processes and they are entirely within your control.  For example, a goal might be “I want to be in a romantic relationship”. A system would be “on Monday I’m going to single’s night.  On Tuesday I’m going to the dog park and I’m going to initiate talking to three new people”. Productivity goes through the roof when people focus on systems.  This is the step where automation of repetitive tasks and creating habits you can stick to comes into play. In a company, setting up systems is critical. It’s the only way that success can be replicated and new people can be hired into the company without having to re-invent the wheel every time.
  The struggle is part of the process of creation.  No matter how motivated you are, you will have times where you just aren’t.  Times where no matter what you do, it isn’t feeling in-alignment. This is distinctly different than lacking intrinsic motivation.  We all have bad days. Embrace the struggle and use it to re-evaluate instead of immediately thinking that the struggle means it’s time to doubt the whole thing in it’s entirely.  Sometimes, we need to stop fighting and take a rest. Ironically when we do this, often times we release our resistance to the struggle just enough that a solution naturally arises.  Expecting that if it’s meant to be, everything will go smoothly or according to plan is not being in reality. It doesn’t work that way for anyone.  Many people feel blindsided by struggle, set backs and failures and they give up when they encounter these things.  But success is really about accepting that this is par for the course. It’s about riding the waves of motivation and streamlining your focused energy towards it’s highest and best use all the way to the completion of whatever it is you are wanting to produce.

The “Suffer So I Can Feel Loved” Relationship Dynamic

We all want to know that we are loved.  But how do you know if you are loved? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself relative to your relationships.  No one can feel loved with a “fair-weather” partner or friend. In other words, a person who disconnects and un-commits the minute things get hard or inconvenient or painful.  But there is serious danger in our love being defined by the opposite extreme.      
A shocking amount of people either consciously or subconsciously believe that they know someone loves them if that person is willing to stay committed to them no matter what.  This essentially means, if they remain connected and committed through suffering; even if they, themselves are the one causing that suffering. This type of thinking opens the door for rationalized subconscious abuse. 
The definition of an unsafe relationship is a relationship with someone who cannot take you as part of themselves and therefore cannot take your best interests as part of their best interests.  This is a state of disconnection. In a state of disconnection, someone cannot see you, feel you, hear you and understand you to even know what your best interests really are. They become un-attuned.  
Most people think that love is to feel intensely positive towards something or someone.  This is not the case. This can be a byproduct of love. To love something is to take it as a part of yourself.  If you take something as a part of you, you do not perceive yourself to be separate from that thing and so you can perceive it fully and you seriously take its best interests into account.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Create A Safe Relationship. If you take something as a part of you, you can’t hurt that thing without hurting yourself.  
The reality is that many people had adult caregivers in their early life that did not do this.  Instead, they expected their children to be in pain in one way or another for their sake. The child’s boundaries (which includes thoughts, feelings, preferences, aversions, needs, and desires) were not considered.  The caregivers did what was best for themselves and the kids had to go along with it. The kids are praised for doing so. They begin to from a link between the self-sacrifice and endurism and love. 
  This may suit the caregivers in the short term, but they are setting up their children for an adulthood where they do this to the people in their life and this is done to them by the people in their life.  
This pattern becomes very dangerous because they will find themselves on either side of the following pattern in their adult relationships: One person does something to make the other person feel unloved, it doesn’t have to be something extreme, it could even be something small and unconscious, like looking at someone else.  It creates insecurity in the other person. They disconnect in order to preserve themselves. But to re-establish security in the relationship, they begin to ‘test’ the love the other person has for them. Because their subconscious way of knowing if someone loves them is if that person remains connected and committed even though they are suffering.  So, they subconsciously begin to put the other person in pain. The ways they go about doing this range all the way from overt physical, mental and emotional abuse to beginning to make decisions that are not in the best interests of the other person to no longer recognizing their limits to creating situations that seem totally beyond their control, but that cause the other person distress…  Any situation where how the other person acts and what they decide to do when they are in that pain, indicates that person’s level of commitment and connection and desire for them.  
People who are in the position of being caused pain in this scenario will immediately revert back to their original behavior of proving their love by staying committed and connected no matter what.  Their “I’ll suffer to be with you” mentality is now what establishes the security in the relationship.    
I want you to think about that, the holding pattern inherent in this relationship pattern is that for one or both people in the relationship, the security in the relationship and the knowing of how much your partner or friend loves you is defied by how much they will suffer to be with you or suffer for your best interests.  It goes without saying that this is where the recognition of a person’s limits goes right out the window in a relationship.      
An interesting thing to note is that love is not actually present in this relationship.  One person has to go into a state of endurism and to do so, must cease to take his or her own best interests as a part of themselves.  They must self sacrifice, which is the opposite of self love. So, one party has to stop loving themselves. To understand more about this pattern, it may help you to watch my video titled: Endurism (The Flip Side of Escapism).    
The other person has to disconnect from the other to begin to say and do things that put them in pain.  When they become ok with the other person being in pain so they can selfishly feel loved by them, they are by definition no longer taking the other person as a part of themselves.  So they are not loving them. It becomes a rather ironic twist whereby to have the other person’s love for them proven, they, themselves must cease to love. You may notice that you flip flop between both roles in one relationship and you may also play one role in one relationship and the opposite role in another relationship. 
So you can understand this pattern better, I will give you an example.  A couple struggles with money. The woman in the relationship loses her tolerance for it and makes the comment “Why couldn’t I have just married a millionaire?”  This makes the man feel unloved and immediately doubt the security of the relationship. Instead of really putting his energy toward financial wellbeing, he begins to test her love by subconsciously putting minimal effort towards improving their financial situation and plays video games or goes to the bar when he could be looking for ways to improve their situation instead.  Their financial situation stays bad or gets worse. She suffers, but he feels more loved as months go by and years go by and she is still choosing to be in the relationship with him despite their poverty and the suffering it causes her. He feels even more loved when she suffers even more by putting all her time and energy into improving the financial situation for the both of them.  And she looks at her willingness to suffer that much with him instead of getting another, more affluent partner as a measure and gesture of her love for him as well. Her willingness to suffer and stay connected and committed anyway becomes their barometer for the security of the relationship and the amount she loves him.    
If this is a pattern in your relationships, it means your wires are crossed.  They are crossed so badly that your definition of love is in fact the exact opposite of actual love.  To love something implies an intolerance for its suffering. This is part of why it is so critical to swallow the reality of incompatibility.  If you have this relationship pattern, incompatible relationships and the indescribable pain they cause will be the relationships in which you feel the most loved and think you love the other person the most.  Your relationships will devolve into feeling shame (like in any incompatible relationship does) but then, you will feel even more loved because they stay with you no matter how ‘bad’ you are and you stay with them no matter how ‘bad’ they are.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a harsh reality in relationships.    
If you recognize this pattern in yourself, don’t judge yourself as bad for it.  It’s totally understandable why it exists and that it makes you feel loved or loving.  You simply have to recognize that the moral of the story is that it is impossible to create a feel-good relationship with the security in the relationship and the knowing of how much a person loves you being based on how much they will suffer to be with you or suffer for your best interests.  And it is impossible to be in a good relationship with yourself when you define your love for someone based on your willingness to suffer to be with them or suffer for their best interests. It isn’t even ultimately loving towards them. What is in another person’s best interests is for them to be with someone who really appreciates and enjoys them and sees them as a source of pleasure, not to be with someone whose truth is “it hurts me to be with you or do this for you.”  The security in a relationship and the measure of whether someone loves you, is based on their commitment to your wellbeing. Let this be your way of loving other people and let this be your way of loving yourself.

Novocaine Spirituality

The vast majority of people find their way to spirituality and self help through pain.  This means they are in a state of distress. When people are in pain/distress they want two things, they want to heal (which is actual resolution for the problem itself) and they want immediate relief from the pain.  But these two things can often be like two roads diverging in opposing directions.
You are familiar with anesthetics, otherwise known as painkillers such as Novocaine or Morphine.  The benefits of anesthetics go without saying. But there is a downside to them if they are used in the wrong situations or the wrong ways.  Pain exists for a reason. Pain is always the indication that something needs to be paid attention to, done or changed so a person can come back into alignment with wellbeing.  For example, the pain of touching a hot stove is calling you to remove your hand. If you could not feel the pain, you would leave your hand on the stove and burn it completely.  It is this misuse of painkillers that we need to be concerned with relative to spirituality. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Spiritual Bypassing.  
Physical anesthetics aren’t the only kind of painkiller.  There are many painkillers that are behavioral and mental that can prove to be just as powerful as far as coping mechanisms go.  What I want you to understand is that a coping mechanism infers no actual healing and no actual change. A coping mechanism is by definition a specific alteration that you make mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress.  It implies that you are not getting out of a distressing or painful situation, but rather finding ways to live with it.  And for so many people, spirituality is just one giant coping mechanism.  Religions have been teaching their congregations to use spirituality (and the different beliefs and practices inherent in it) as a coping mechanism for thousands of years.  To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Spirituality, The Great Coping Mechanism.    
I will never forget the first time I was hired to give a talk at a spiritual event many years ago.  It was one of those expos where there are hundreds of booths selling spiritual products and over 30 speakers were hired and scheduled to speak throughout the event.  Watching the people wander from room to room to listen to the speakers and watching them with their newly bought products reminded me of watching people in another place I had been… A methadone clinic.  It was there that I coined the term “Novocaine Spirituality”. Spirituality can take you down either road, the road of expansion, awareness and healing. Or the road of coping, numbing, delusion and substitute addiction.  Novocaine spirituality is the latter. Novocaine spirituality is those spiritual or self help beliefs, techniques, processes and products that do absolutely nothing to create awareness, expansion and change. Instead, it serves as a way to avoid or escape pain.                             
I’m going to tell you something sad.  Many people, even teachers don’t know the difference.  They can’t tell the difference between a coping mechanism and something that is genuinely healing and beneficial long term.  What they experience is pain relief and assume something is being healed. Feeling better because you had an injection of Novocaine does not mean the broken bone is mended.  And many genuinely healing things can in fact cause more pain in the short term. Many people don’t use these ‘Novocaine’ thoughts or techniques in the right way at the right time.
A sadder truth still is that many people in the spiritual field don’t care whether the spirituality they are delivering is simply Novocaine or not.  They don’t care because coping and numbing and delusion and substitute addiction is what they, themselves are doing. They don’t care because it is immediate relief.  It is what people are desperate for. Because of this, it is easy to sell and it guarantees to keep on selling. People flock to events and sit in the seats eager to get their “hit” of good feeling stuff.  But because it is being used as a coping mechanism, nothing in their life actually changes. So their only hope of feeling good again is to come back for a hit again. These seminars and products fail to actually benefit someone at this point, instead, they become like a ‘fix’.  People become addicted to Novocaine spirituality for the same reason that people get addicted to painkillers. To understand more about addiction, watch my video titled: Addiction and How To Overcome Addiction.         
Am I advocating for no Novocaine?  No. In fact, I will directly tell people to use these thoughts, beliefs, tools and techniques.  Many of them are incredibly powerful and beneficial tools. What I am advocating for is for these things to be used consciously in the right times and right situations.  Let me give you an example.  Positive focus exercises can be used to pull yourself out of a downward spiral so you can actually focus on those steps that you need to take.  They can also be used to bypass things that really need to change in your life. Using the metaphor, the first is Novocaine used properly. The second is Novocaine used improperly.  Almost any spiritual or self-help technique that makes you feel better (some definitely more than others) have the potential to serve as spiritual Novocaine. Here is just a tiny list of things that could serve as spiritual Novocain:
Positive focus exercises Gratitude exercises Religious or spiritual beliefs Meditation Present moment exercises Thoughts like “Anything that is happening is supposed to happen” “The physical is just an illusion” “It is what it is” “The universe will take care of it” “Darkness is always drawn to light” “We are all one” “All there is, is love” “You create your own reality” “It’s all perfect and in divine plan” etc.  You will notice that thoughts that cause you to feel superior or safe or good or justified pose a particular risk.   Talking with Spirit Guides and Angels  Positive somatic resourcing Crystals Essential oils Positive oracle decks    Listening to inspirational speeches  Affirmations Prayer Religious rituals or mantras  Spiritual ‘medicines’ including shamanic plants and/or their compounds  Retreats Workshops, Seminars and expos Yoga Energy Work Notice how several of these things that could serve as spiritual Novocaine could just as easily serve to help someone awaken?  This is one reason why it’s so hard for people to recognize when they are mis-using a spiritual or self help tool. 
It is dangerous when we find ourselves in situations that are absolutely changeable, where we do have the power to diminish or eradicate the stressor, to not realize it.  In these situations, in accordance with the illusion of powerlessness we perceive in ourselves, we simply immediately indulge in our Novocaine style spiritual or self-help coping mechanism instead of actually making necessary changes to our life.  
When you are looking to get out of distress, you run the risk of selecting a spiritual belief and a spiritual teacher who enables, validates or creates the coping mechanism.  When this happens, your ego has hijacked your spiritual practice so as to keep you away from feeling pain no matter the cost. In order to become fully conscious and to make the right choice of spiritual tool to use or to give to other people at a given time, we have to see the shadow side of all of our spiritual tools.    
If you are interested in letting go of your coping mechanisms, including spiritual Novocaine, watch my video titled: How To Let Go of a Coping Mechanism. Take a look at the spiritual or self help thoughts, tools, techniques or practices that make you feel better.  Make a list of them. How do they help you deal with distress? These tools may genuinely benefit you. But for the sake of this exercise, play the game of devil’s advocate. From this perspective, look for and argue the points against these things. How could each one be a pain killer like coping mechanism?  If each one was a coping mechanism, what potential downsides could there be to that coping mechanism? How does each one not work?  
By doing this exercise, you can become aware of some of the potential spiritual Novocaine in your life.  You can open your mind wide enough to see the potential shadow side of every spiritual and self-help belief or tool you have become attached to.  By doing this, you are less likely to succumb to the tool so that it uses you, instead of you using it. Awareness after all, is the primary agent for change.
I am asking you to develop genuine consciousness by taking each one of the spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices you have and ask yourself with an attitude of curious philosophical exploration: How could this potentially be a detriment to me and to those around me and to the world at large?  What could be the negative side of this belief or practice?
 So often people think they are becoming conscious and awakening, when in fact they are just developing stronger and stronger coping mechanisms.  Stronger and stronger coping mechanisms that will backfire one day or that currently harm themselves and the world around them. You can relate to this by imagining that someone thinks they are healing when in fact, they have just managed to hook themselves up to a morphine drip.  
Be sure that those things that belong to the spiritual and self-help world are things you are using for your expansion, awareness and healing rather than coping, delusion or numbing.

If You Want Someone To See The Truth, You Have To Get Them To See Their Resistance To Seeing The Truth

A while ago, I did a video in which I explained the single biggest barrier to awareness.  I explained that people don’t see things when the seeing of them means feeling pain.  Not seeing the truth, when the truth would imply pain is a coping mechanism in the form of an avoidance strategy.  If you want to see the video to understand this deeper, the video is titled: The Single Biggest Barrier To Awareness.  
In every city I go to, people sit across from me feeling powerless and desperate because they need someone in their life to see something (one of their important truths) and no matter what they do, they can’t get them to see it or accept it.  This is an excruciating experience because when someone doesn’t see something, they don’t adjust accordingly. For example, if we don’t see that we are stepping on a cat’s tail, we will continue to stand on it and even think that our cat has lost its mind when it screams.  
What people don’t see is that they are fighting against resistance.  This is something we are all trained to do. We meet opposition with equal or greater opposition.  We bulldoze it or continue to try to bypass it, anything but try to resolve it directly. When we do this, we don’t get that fighting against resistance, is resisting resistance.  That will never work. All resistance really is, is opposition. But it serves as a shield that makes it so we can never really be in relationship to whatever is behind the shield.  I am going to give you a golden rule of thumb. If someone has resistance to something, stop and deal specifically with the resistance. If they are refusing to accept something, deal directly with the part of them that refuses to accept it.  If they are not seeing a truth, stop trying to convince them of it and instead, directly address their resistance to seeing the truth.
I have an image for you that might help you to engrain this concept into your awareness.  Imagine that you are trying to dance with someone, but every time you tried to come close and grab their hands, they swatted you away.  If you continued to try to dance with them, this would be resisting resistance. Instead, imagine that there is an invisible shield that they have erected between you and them and you need to talk with them directly about that shield first to learn why it’s there and what you need to do for it to not be there, before you every start trying to dance with them.  This should be your strategy for communication.  
Continuing to use this analogy, drawing the person’s attention to this shield helps them to become aware.  It causes them to introduce awareness to their own resistance and this is what begins corroding it, like a light beam shining on a sheet of ice.  This is the necessary step to take for acceptance to occur.
Acceptance is the opposite of denial and avoidance.  To accept is to recognize something as valid or correct.  Doing this makes your being consent to receiving it and digesting it as truth instead of fighting to not acknowledge it and not take it in.  Acceptance has nothing to do with condoning something or condemning something. It has nothing to do with whether you want to change something or not.  It is simply about being able to acknowledge something as valid enough to let that acknowledgement in, instead of fight to keep it out.
Something that will help you to not resist their resistance is to understand that resistance comes from a super vulnerable space.  These parts of someone that resist seeing the truth, do so because seeing the truth would imply pain. They are trying to protect themselves.  This is even the case when it’s obvious to you that them not seeing something is getting them into more danger and more pain.  Try to remember that they are just trying to stay safe. They will only let go of this resistance if they see that not seeing is not actually keeping them safe.  Too understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing As Self Sabotage.
Helping someone to see and explore their resistance to seeing something or accepting a truth is a bigger gift than simply getting them to see whatever it is you’re wanting them to see.  For example, you may be trying to get someone to see that they are really self-centered in their interactions with and their attitude towards their child. The single biggest barrier we have to seeing something about ourselves is shame.  To avoid this shame (pain), this parent is going to immediately go into resistance. You will NOT be able to convince him or her of this truth. If you stop and work with the resistance directly so that the person sees their own denial and their own refusal to see themselves as self-centered, this awareness will effect ALL areas of their life, not just their relationship with their child.  This awareness has the capacity to make this person a different and more authentic person all around, someone who does not subconsciously get his or her needs met in round about, subconscious and manipulative ways. 
Within a person’s resistance is the key to their childhood pain and what really needs resolving.  In the above scenario, the parent has trauma around their own self interests. The condemnation they experienced when trying to meet their own needs directly is what created this covert strategy for meeting their own needs.  This is what really needs resolving within them.                    
Become aware of what pain or painful changes they are trying to avoid by not seeing, feeling, hearing and accepting certain things.  Become aware of the painful meaning they are adding to those certain realities that they don’t want to see. The more willing they are to consciously face that pain that they are wanting to avoid, the more open and less avoidant they will be of awareness.
Get off of your rigid stance about the truth you’re wanting them to see and instead, begin to dance with the resistance itself.  Do so with the energy and tonality and body language of curiosity. From this place, you can ask them, if this thing were true and were the reality, what would be so bad about that? If this thing were the actual truth or the actual reality, what pain could a person avoid by refusing to see and accept that?  What would it mean about you or about the world? You can help them from there to change their perspective relative to the answers they give. You can help them to ‘soften’ their resistance.      
If you really want to get someone to see the truth, you have to get people to see their resistance to seeing the truth, not just try to force them to see the truth.

How To Open and Activate Your Soul Star Chakra

Each chakra is a specific expression of Prana (otherwise known as life force or source energy).  The chakras look a bit like funnels of energy or vortices. They both absorb and emit energy. Most people are only aware of the seven chakras that are directly associated with the body and that have garnered the most attention from various modern spiritual traditions. You know them as the root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye chakra and crown chakra.  But there are many other chakras. Hundreds actually. This is where numbering them gets hazy. We call the root chakra the first chakra because most people ascribe to one very specific seven-chakra system that lists it as such. But there are So many chakra systems. In one, the heart is considered the first chakra, in another, the earth star is considered the first chakra. For this reason, I’m not going to give you a number for the chakra we’re going to talk about today.  I am going to refer to it by the name that it is most commonly called… The Soul Star Chakra.  
The soul star chakra is located above your head.  While there is some variability relative to its distance from the top of people’s heads, in most people, it appears about half a foot above their head.  This chakra is like a gateway or a link between the singular temporal embodiment and the united, eternal, non-physical. It is the link between the two points of perspective that you are.  It is the gateway between association and dissociation. Identification and non-identification. This is why many people think this chakra connects you to the Akashic records and past lives.  Really, this chakra is unconcerned with any of that. It is concerned with the WHY you incarnated into this specific singular perspective and identity. It holds the truth of how your temporary life and individual consciousness fits into the bigger picture of universal consciousness.  It holds the truth of your purpose for existing and is very clear that incarnation is a choice… A choice that is made more or less consciously by free will or deterministically. It is an integral part of ‘enlightenment’. To use an analogy, it is like a link between the painting and the painter.  This link is what must be broken for death to occur, but this link can only be broken with a choice for the temporal consciousness to withdraw from physical focus.  
When people dissociate from their physical perspective, it is as if they withdraw back through this gate.  They leave more or less of their stream of consciousness committed to the physical. A complete withdrawal of all energy is death, but there are many ‘shades of grey’.  A baby stuck in a crib powerless with none of its needs met is often painful enough that this withdrawal happens. This person is more committed to non-physical than physical (but as a coping mechanism).  It has the energy of a person getting bitten in the water, and choosing to get out and hover at the shore. But the water is ‘physical life’ so they are no longer fully committed to physical life. Most of the spiritual teachers alive today are existing and teaching from this non-committed place.  They are dissociated from physicality. When someone has a near death experience; they withdraw through this gate, re-connect with the non-physical including their purpose for this temporal life and then consciously choose back into it.                           
There are many understandable misconceptions that people have about this chakra.  Given that this chakra is about the link between temporal and non-temporal, it is tempting to assume that spiritual people have the most in-alignment soul star chakras.  This is not the case because they are often un-committed to half of the equation. They often view physical life as some kind of test they are being put through in order to transcend it and that the goal is to disconnect from the illusion of physical life.  In fact, someone who has no awareness of the non-physical and is totally physically committed to their physical life has a more in alignment soul star chakra.  
This chakra does not ‘store’ anything.  It is not the ‘seat’ of anything. It is a gate or link between temporal and the non-temporal.  The goal of bringing this chakra into alignment is the opposite of what people commonly assume. It is not to remember past lives or to access the Akashic or to become omniscient or to live as the higher self.  It is to reconnect to the bigger picture, to integrate physical and non-physical, to restore our sense of unique life purpose, excellence, direction, place in the greater universe and to commit to our temporal life. 
Some of the primary things that cause this chakra to go out of alignment is when you are ‘lost’.  When you are disconnected from your feelings and especially when you’re numb.  When you are dissociated. When you are not committed to your life. When you are filled with doubt.  When you are holding yourself back instead of taking risks that need to be taken. When you are letting other people make decisions for you and dictate your direction.  When you are not living from a place of ‘choice’. When you are not living in alignment with your authenticity. When you have lost touch with the why you are in this incarnation relative to the bigger picture of the universe.  When you use spirituality to ‘exit’ life or ‘exit’ physicality or ‘exit’ reality.  When you are trying to ‘transcend’ instead of to integrate. When you are in a state of disconnection or subconscious dis-identification and when you are too selectively identified.
It may be interesting to note that when this chakra goes out of alignment, it can quickly lead to terminal illness, most especially mysterious illness that don’t fit a clear diagnosis and that do not respond to any treatment whatsoever.     
All this being said, what should you do to open and activate and bring the soul star chakra, which would better be called ‘the life purpose chakra’ into alignment?
Accept that you are non-physical energy currently expressing itself physically.  If it really helps you, you can imagine that you are a soul temporarily having a human body.  But that body and physical life is not a prison and it is not a test and it is not an illusion.  It is part of you. It is your creation. And you created it for a very important reason in the grand scheme of things.  So you did not have a life to transcend life. You are life, so why did you as life express yourself physically in this way at this time?
  Be authentic.  The more awareness you develop, the more you will see that there is no contradiction between destiny and free will.  When you are in alignment with your joy and your talent and your inner calling, that is you being in alignment with your life purpose and how that life purpose fits into the bigger picture of the universe.  So, you must begin to really see and own up to and follow your own innate truths. To learn more about how to do this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic.
  Commit to life.  Commit to your incarnation.  To commit to something you must put your energy and focus into that thing.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Get Over The Fear Of Commitment and Find Your Subconscious Core Life Commitment.  Can you see how you haven’t been committed to your life and your time here in this physical time space reality? For example, one person may be avoiding meditation because they aren’t really being committed to life.  Another person might be meditating because they aren’t really committed to life and they are using it as an avoidance mechanism. The purpose inherent in the soul star chakra is to integrate physical and non physical.
  The colors that are associated with and that activate this chakra are Silver and White.   Wear these colors, do mediations in which you flood your being with these colors.
  This chakra is intensely influenced by meditation, especially meditation whose aim is to re-establish the bigger picture or objective perspective and deliberate dis-identification exercises.  It is also especially responsive to the energy of the Merkabah and the Star of David.
  Use herbs and essential oils.  Those that I see having the greatest effect on the soul star chakra are: Your own spirit plant.  For more information on this, watch my video titled: Spirit Plant. Neroli, Salvia, Roman Chamomile, White Angelica, Witch Hazel, White Sage, Bergamot, Cypress, Frankincense, Hyssop and the combination of sandal wood and cedar wood.
  Attune to certain minerals.  Those that I see having the greatest effect on the soul star chakra are:  Silver, Iron, Phenacite, Ametrine, Herderite, Selenite, Diamond, Datolite, Magnesite, Lemurian Crystal, Danburite, Celestite, Charoite, Golden Obsidian, Rhodonite, Pyrite, Petalite, Fossils and Boji stones and Nickel.
  Do Breath Work and breathing exercises.  Breath work is interesting in that because it is a bridge between the physical and non physical, it has as much capacity to bring a person stuck in the physical into the non physical and it does to bring a person who is dissociated from the physical (and identified with the non-physical) into the physical.  When people are not connected to physicality and feel insecure and unsafe, they stop breathing deeply and instead breath very shallow in a subconscious rejection of life itself.
  Stimulate yourself with sounds that cause this link between the physical and non physical to strengthen or use silence. You can find specific frequencies that are specifically designed for this chakra, but the sounds that will work best will be different from person to person.  For example, if a person’s life purpose is actualized by being a salsa dancer, salsa music will work better than new age spiritual mantras. For someone else, Tibetan chanting might. For someone else, silence may work the best. Play around with what sounds and music cause you to feel your physical incarnation within the context of the bigger picture and the most committed to your sense of calling or purpose.
  Do things that cause you to remember the big picture of your life on earth so as to not get lost in the day to day of your life.  And then, instead of using that as an escape, really integrate that awareness with what you are doing in your day-to-day life. When enlightenment is achieved, one does the same things as he or she does before.  They chop wood and carry water and do dishes. But everything about their perspective while they are doing it has changed. This changes the entire quality of the experience of living.
  Do not use spirituality as a means of transcending, escaping from, dissociating from, disowning the physical or anything associated with your physical existence.  Instead see your life as an opportunity for your soul to canvass itself physically. Fall in love with the physical instead. You are being called by the soul star chakra to stretch to hold both the truths of the temporal and the truths of the non-temporal.   By intentionally doing things that enable your soul star chakra to come into alignment and to open, you will be stepping into your life purpose and by doing so, into alignment with divine purpose within the universe at large.  You will become the integration of the temporal and non-temporal planes of existence and you will begin to develop one hell of a zest for life.

The Problem With What “Resonates” With You

If you have spent any time at all in modern spiritual circles, you know that the indicator that people use for whether something is true or whether something is right for them is whether it ‘resonates’ with them.  When something resonates, it produces or is filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound. We could say that when this happens, the sound vibration is expanded or amplified.    
When a person says that something ‘resonates’ with them, they are essentially saying that something is a match to their current experience, awareness, perspective or conscious desires.  Because of this, it causes an amplification of their own personal vibration, which includes their current experience, awareness, perspective and desires etc.  And because of this, when something resonates, it holds meaning to the person. We could say that when something resonates with you, it is a deeply validating experience.  This is why we experience it as a confirmation or a ‘yes’.  It is also why to the opposite, when something does not match our current experience, awareness, perspective or desires, we experience it as an invalidation, a contradiction to our sense of self and/or reality and therefore a ‘no’. 
I find it is amusing that people only say ‘that resonates with me’ when they have either already accepted a painful truth or when they are referring to a positive resonance pattern within themselves.  When something that a person encounters is a match to something within that person that they are desperately trying to avoid, it will also cause them to resonate, but this time it is amplification of the pain they are trying to avoid.  It will strike a negative cord instead of a positive one, like a trigger for example.        
 If you sit with this understanding of what it means to resonate with something, it is easy to see that the tool of ‘what resonates with me’ is a double-edged sword.  For example, on the one hand, if something does resonate with you, it can indicate that something is in alignment with you or your true purpose, is true, is a validation, is a match to your desires or that something is compatible to you or that you are understood etc.   But it can also mean that someone is reinforcing one of your shadows, enabling you, agreeing with what doesn’t serve you, offering a solution that allows you to avoid what you want to avoid, solidifying your limited perspective etc.   
On the one hand, when something does not resonate with you, it can indicate that you have encountered a mis-truth, someone is being inauthentic, are not understood, something is out of alignment, something is incompatible to you, it is not a match to your desires etc. But it can also mean that you are being introduced to an experience that will alter your current perspective, an awareness that will break you free but that invalidates the limited awareness you currently hold, your conscious mind is being confronted with something in your subconscious that you don’t want to see, you are being offered something that will serve you immensely, but that is the opposite of avoidance, someone is expressing something about themselves that you refuse to accept, your pre-existing programming is being undone, you are being introduced to a truth that is inconsistent with your highly limited grasp of truth etc.  
The problem with “what resonates with you” is that when something resonates with you, you are saying that it holds the same frequency as you currently do.  This implies agreement instead of discordance. And you know that discordance does not always imply that something is false or wrong. For example, as it applies to thoughts, when someone’s thoughts are in consonance with our own thoughts on a subject, we agree with one another, we feel we are in synch and so their thoughts ‘resonate’ with us. 
So you can understand the limits of relying upon “what resonates with me”, I’m going to give a short list of examples:
A person is hyper controlling.  This person is rigid in her thoughts, words and actions.  The vibration of willow is the opposite of this; it is a master of allowing.  This person says they dislike willow trees and despite having a big problem with headaches, has an allergy to willow bark extract.  She will say that willow doesn’t ‘resonate’ with her. When in fact, willow is the exact energy she needs. What she feels coming up within her any time she is near willow, is her resistance to being allowing. A man is in a relationship with a woman who is using him for money.  She uses sex and affection to keep him committed to her and loves to spend time with him so he will take her on fancy getaways.  Everyone around him can see this. When they bring it to his attention he says, “No, that doesn’t resonate with me, because she is so affectionate and complains when I’m not around”.     A woman is raised in a society that says the only way for her to be of value to the society and to be seen as good is to be a full time mother.  She has to deny the part of her that wanted to be a lawyer. She ‘sacrificed this part’ to be a mother and says she did so out of love for her children.  The children can feel her resentment and can feel that she made the choice so she could be seen as a good mother, after all she demands their gratitude and loyalty for the ways she sacrifices herself all the time.  When they tell her, “Mom, you never wanted to be a mother” she will say, “that doesn’t resonate with me, I have given my whole life up to be a mother.”   A black person goes into a job interview and does not get selected for the job.  The reality is that the company decided to hire someone less qualified because they were a friend of a friend of the boss’s.  Someone this person knows well says, you know why they didn’t hire you; it’s cause that company is full of crackers. Because of this person’s experience with racism, this explanation will immediately resonate with him or her.  They will take that ‘resonance’ to mean that this explanation is right.    A person has grown up in a Christian community.  They have a particularly hard time in life and so they start praying.  They hear a voice speaking back to them, offering them comfort. This voice is in fact their own voice; it is a coping part of themselves that is contradicting their negative thought with positive thought.  When someone says this is what is happening, they will say, “No, that doesn’t resonate with me, it was Jesus speaking to me.” A person goes to a self-help seminar.  They have been hating the idea of facing and resolving any of what happened to them in their past.  Seeing as how the past can’t be un-done anyway, they see no reason to look at what their parents may have done wrong.  After all, their parents didn’t know any better back then. At this seminar, someone on stage says, “Do not live in the past.  If you think about the past, it re-activates it. Just stop. Let your past life be a past life. Instead, become intensely focused on what you want as if it is happening right now.”  This person will immediately say “Oh my god, that resonates with me sooo much.”         You get the point.  We could be here all day going over scenarios where we can clearly see that ‘something resonating with someone’ has nothing to do with whether is it true or right.  
What you need to become the most aware of is that anything that is buried deep enough within your subconscious mind, anything you are in deep enough denial of, will not positively resonate with you.  Either it will elicit no reaction, or it will trigger you, meaning it will resonate with something you are trying desperately to avoid.  
Let me say this in another way, if you are interested in awareness, you cannot rely upon something resonating with you as the indicator of whether it is true or right.  By definition, your subconscious is what you don’t know that you don’t know. So it is more likely that anything in your subconscious, including anything you have suppressed, denied, disowned or rejected will not resonate with you.  To expand your awareness around this, you would benefit by watching two of my videos, the first titled: The Biggest Barrier to Awareness and the second titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening (click here to watch).
You should pay attention any time something does or doesn’t resonate with you and the question you should be asking (and open to any number of potential answers for relative to either scenario) is: WHY.  Why does it or why doesn’t it resonate with me? When something resonates or doesn’t, that resonance or dissonance is always telling you something. Just remember that your interpretation of what it is telling you is potentially not on point.  To commit to awareness, is to deeply consider all perspectives.  It is to treat the reactions within your body, including resonance or dissonance as an alarm bell calling us to curiosity, to open questioning, to further self and universal awareness.  And never forget that as you change and expand, what will resonate with you will change.

Attraction (Why You Are Attracted To The People You're Attracted To)

Attraction is arguably one of the greatest elements of unconscious human behavior, even amongst the most conscious people.  It is like a two-sided coin. On one side, it can be a feeling state of the highest blissful excitement. On the other it can induce a feeling state of the lowest desperate suffering.  For this reason, it is time to ‘get sober’ in order to understand the reality about attraction. 
People mistake appreciation, attraction and love for the same thing.   All three can potentially be present in a relationship but they are three distinctly different states.  To appreciate something is to recognize the value or worth of something. It is to recognize the positive about that thing.  
To comprehend attraction in relationships, you must zoom out.  When you do this, you will see that attraction is very simple. It is a pull in the same way that wanting is a pull.  This pull occurs on a kind of sliding scale; from preference to wanting to needing to craving. Attraction is always an indication that there is something you are wanting or needing and it may be something you are not consciously aware of.  Usually, the more attracted we are to something, the further away we feel that we are from that thing we want and therefore, the more desperate we are for it. Attraction may be an indication that something about the other person is what you are wanting in a partner.  But we often make the mistake of thinking that attraction is always about the other person.  Often, it isn’t. Instead, it is something we feel when we think we will be able to experience something we are wanting or needing when we are with them or associated with them…  Something we can secure for ourselves through a mutual commitment like dating or marrying.
Attraction is a call for personal expansion.  Recognizing what this thing we are wanting or needing is, is the necessary ingredient for conscious choice.  You might quickly see that the best way to go about getting that thing you are wanting is different than getting into a relationship with that person.  If we aren’t conscious of this, we can become like a person so desperate for food that we eat a poisoned apple or so desperate for one thing, that we lose other things that matter in our life.     
Attraction is not love.  It is self-centered. Attraction is about something we want and need for ourselves and our own well-being.  It is about something we wish to add to our life experience. Love is not. Love is the conscious choice to take someone as a part of yourself and therefore their best interests as a part of your own.  Attraction and appreciation merely makes this choice easier. It makes the choice feel less like a choice and more like a compulsion, at least in the beginning. 
Here are some examples:  A female client of mine became attracted to a man.  When she really examined what she loved about being near him, it was that he is very wealthy and therefore very powerful.  This made her feel protected. It elevated her status and with that, her self esteem. Also, when she was with him, she was not under so much pressure to provide for herself.  What she was wanting was the relief from financial pressure, protection and safety and also status and the esteem that comes with it. There is nothing wrong with these desires.  But only once she saw that this was what she wanted could she evaluate whether being in a relationship with this man was the right conscious decision for her to make. Or whether she should go about getting those things in different ways.  One woman might have decided it is right for her and him to enter into a relationship.  This woman decided consciously against it because when she imagined him losing all his money, she no longer had any desire to be near him. 
One male client of mine became attracted to a woman.  She was beautiful and super ambitious and emotionally explosive.  He was the exact opposite of her. At first, the relationship felt exciting and fulfilling.  After a while, they started to fight. His lack of ambition began to bother her. Her ambition began to bother him.  They never had the same priorities because of it. When they would fight, he would become withdrawn and she would explode with rage.  When he examined the attraction consciously, he saw that she embodied all of the things he had disowned within himself. He saw that she was so much like his mother that a part of him believed if he could get her to prioritize him over her other ambitious desires, it would be like his mother choosing to do that instead of always having higher priorities than him.  He realized that he needed to end the relationship because the better way to heal that childhood wound would be to choose a partner who would prioritize connection like he did. And that his own expansion would be better served by re-owning his own ambition and his own emotions. In truth, they were completely incompatible especially in that they wanted drastically different things.
One male client of mine became attracted to another man.  This man was stable and doting and older than he was. When he examined his attraction to this man, he realized that he wanted stability in his life and he wanted to do that in tandem with a truly committed partner.  Even if he was not in a relationship with this man, there were things he genuinely appreciated about him. The things he wanted for his life were the same as what this man wanted. He made the conscious choice to love this man.  Because of this, he decided that the best choice would be to consciously commit to this man. They are now happily married.
The first problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is the meaning that we assign to it.  Because we don’t understand that attraction is an indication of wanting and because we think attraction is the same as love, we assign false meaning to attraction when we feel it.  Fairytales and Hollywood do not help with this. For example, we make attraction mean that this person could be ‘the one’. We make it mean that we are meant to be together physically or emotionally or both.  We take it as a sign from the universe pointing us to our perfect partner. We make it mean that we must be compatible at our core; and if we aren’t, it’s just a matter of time or healing before we will be. We make it mean that we aren’t meant to be with our current partner.  The actual meaning of our attraction can be far, far from this as so many people have painfully found out.
The second problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is overlays.  When we feel attraction to someone, we are usually unconscious of what specifically we are wanting or needing that we feel we can achieve via that person.  And because of this, we project our own life fantasy over that person. When we do this, we fail to see them at all. When we feel that attraction to someone, we ignore anything that is telling us that in reality this person does not match the vision of what we want for ourselves and for our life.  We do not recognize incompatibility where it exists. Instead, we become like casting directors. We mistake attraction to mean that this person is the character we have been waiting for in our vision of our life that we want.  Any sign that we get that suggests that they could play that character well makes us convinced that they are actually that character in reality.  But the truth is, they are not. We are not in love with the actual person.  We are in love with the character we want them to play in our life. When they act in character, we approve of them.   When they break from character, we disapprove of them and try to criticize them back into character. It is critical for you to understand overlays when it comes to understanding attraction.  For this reason, watch my video titled “Overlay, What Prevents You From Having a Real Relationship”. When we are in an overlay in a relationship, we are like moths flying towards the flame thinking it is moonlight.        
The third problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is the failure to recognize attraction as a greater calling from the universe towards a state of unification.  This is a concept that you must understand in order to fully understand human attraction. Our consciousness is not in a state of unification, it is in a state of fragmentation.  The universe itself is in a state of fragmentation. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. We identify with the aspects of us that kept us safe in the world and ensured our wellbeing.  We suppress, reject, deny and disown those that don’t. This creates ‘splits’ inside us. It polarizes us internally. Polarity implies attraction, just like a magnet. When oneness is the underlying truth of the universe, then polarity (two) will forever be finding a way to become one.  Our being wants to integrate and become whole. If we identify with one polarity, our attraction will be to the one that we suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned. 
This time space reality operates according to the law of mirroring.  Whatever is inside us, will appear externally like a reflection. This means, we will meet people who are reflections of that which we have suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned and when we do, we will initially feel attracted to them.  This is the universe’s way of trying to get you to integrate but in an externalized way. The thing is, when you get close to them, you will eventually run into the very same resistance that caused you to separate yourself from that polarity within you.  You will then reject, deny, disown and oppose that external person. This is one big reason why attraction so often turns into pain. Attraction is so often an indication that you have suppressed, denied, rejected and disowned a part of yourself long ago and are receiving a calling to re-integrate that part of yourself.  Doing so is the only way to be sure whether someone is actually compatible to you. It is also a powerful way to eliminate the ‘crazed craving’ you might have for that person who you know does not contribute to your wellbeing. 
For example, imagine that at four years old a little girl’s dad leaves the family.  Her mom has to get a full time job, so she isn’t available either. This little girl really needs and wants connection and she is scared and needs her dad and mom.  But there is no one to be there for her. Therefore, she has to cope by splitting. She will deny, suppress, reject and disown that vulnerable part of her. She will create a part of her that can climb on top of the counters and get her own food.  She will create and then identify with this part of herself that is fiercely independent and that keeps her emotions hidden behind a wall and that has no issue being alone. When she gets older, she will continually find herself attracted to men who turn out to be childlike, needy, clingy and emotional.  Being near these men causes her to feel that denied, suppressed, rejected and disowned part of herself. She hates it because it’s painful and instead of integrating that part of herself that she pushed away so long ago, she pushes these men away the same way that she did that part of herself.         
The fourth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that the body also has wants.  This is where biology comes into play and it comes into play strongly. These wants from the body create physical attraction.  The science of attraction and the biology of reproduction fall into this category. If the body wants to breed and wants strong offspring, it will respond to pheromones for example, regardless of whether the person with those pheromones is compatible to you in other ways.  I will never forget a conversation I heard between two women. One women was doubting whether a man was right for her because the quality of their sex wasn’t the best she had ever had in her life. The other woman quickly retorted, “You don’t want the best sex you ever had guy…  That guy is in jail.” And I had to laugh because there is a teaspoon of truth in what she said. Just because there is physical attraction does not automatically mean that it is the right relationship for you. In fact, physical attraction can be the thing that gives rise to the very strongest overlay.  If you think you may have this issue, imagine the person you are attracted to being incredibly unattractive, ugly even. Watch how they behave and see if you would appreciate them still and how you would feel about their behavior.                                      
Pay attention to how you feel having heard all of this.  The fifth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that we love it.  We love the fairy tale. We love the Hollywood story. We fight for the butterflies in the stomach feeling.  The reason we fight for it (aside from the fact that the chemical release that happens in the body in response to attraction feels good) is because we subconsciously feel that the underlying current for attraction is desire.  If anyone tells you to question your attraction or to go for a relationship that is based off of conscious choice instead of fierce attraction, all we hear is “don’t go for what you want.” It creates a feeling of drudgery. The reason for this is that our parents raised us this way.  They raised us to do what we have to do not what we want to do.  They raised us to oppose our own best interests and desires for what they thought was best for us.  We became miserable as a result and uninspired.  
Attraction is one of the only things strong enough to survive this “killing off of the internal guidance system” process.  It is one of the only things strong enough to force us to follow our feelings towards what we want and really feel alive and excited for the future.  And here’s the thing, if you unconsciously make decisions at the mercy of your attraction, there is nothing wrong with that. Doing so is far better than making decisions that oppose your desires.  It will lead to intense expansion. Just remember that so will running into a tree at 70 miles an hour. The universe has no interest in you denying your desires and needs. What it does want is for those needs and desires to be conscious.  And believe me, if you were conscious of them, you would be going about getting them in different ways than you are now, including getting into relationships. Don’t take any of this awareness about attraction to mean that the message is to deny your desires. 
The sixth problem that we get into when it comes to attraction is that we believe attraction is an indication that we are compatible with someone. This is especially true when our attraction comes from the desire for someone to be ‘like us’ so we can feel belonging and not feel lonely anymore.  This creates a ‘cut from the same stone’ or a ‘the only two of the same species’ feeling. But attraction in no way implies compatibility. In some cases, attraction can imply the exact opposite. For relationships to work, they have to feel good to both people in the relationship.  We are conditioned to believe that love triumphs over all. We have been conditioned to believe that if we are genuinely a good person, we should be able to have a feel good relationship with anyone and everyone, regardless of what role they are playing in our lives.  But this is completely false. Incompatibility is the condition of two things being so different in nature and so uncomplimentary in that difference that they are incapable of coexisting harmoniously. It is tempting to assume that incompatibility is simply about having differences.  But what incompatibility is really about it is putting people with these non harmonious differences in roles or positions with each other that require there to be either no difference or that require a difference that is non harmonious in nature to be harmonious.  When incompatibility is present in a relationship, it is only a matter of time before either one or both people in the relationship will feel shame for the way they are and for what they want and also feel totally unloved.  To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.
Attraction is going to be a part of your life.  It will be there because it is caused by desire and fragmentation, which is a current reality of life on earth.  Unlike love, but like desire, it is not a choice. Attraction for other people won’t stop just because it is inconvenient or you know it comes from a shadow or you’re in a relationship or married.  It is simply important to know where that attraction is coming from and why it is there. From there, you can decide consciously what to do in response to it. If what you are wanting is overall wellbeing and happiness within the relationship, the choice of who to partner with must be a multi faceted choice and a conscious choice, not a compulsive one.  The way you will experience the relationship with that other person within in your own body is that it will be an exhale, a relief and relaxation in your body. It will feel like coming home as opposed to an inhale, a tension and an excited craving. The more conscious you are of what you really want, the easier this will be. The further you get on this path of awakening, the more it will feel like you are appreciating everyone and choosing to love everyone and selecting what role to put people in your life based off of compatibility and genuine priorities.

The 'If You Love Me' Pattern in Relationships

At this point in human history, people do not understand love.  This means they can’t yet truly practice it even if they use the words “I love you.”  To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. Doing this naturally makes their best interests a part of your own best interests.  It makes it so that you can’t hurt them without hurting yourself too. Doing this naturally makes it easy to prioritize needs. For example, if someone needs medical help because they are hurt and we need food because we are hungry, it will be easy (if we take that person as part of ourself) to prioritize their need for medical help.  This mutual caretaking of each other’s best interests is ultimately what creates trust in a relationship. But even people who understand this can fall into a damaging pattern in their relationships; a pattern that can be prevented if you see it clearly.   
At this point in human history, people are raised to believe that love implies selflessness or and/or self-sacrifice.  Because of this, they have been trained that when they love someone, they should act in that person’s best interests over their own.  This is drastically different than simply prioritizing the various needs that arise from either people in a relationship.  We expect other people tfighting against tho act in our best interests over their own as well. Because of this, the relationship inevitably becomes a fight over whose best interests are most important at any given moment.  It becomes a zero-sum game under the guise of love. To understand the concept of the zero sum game in depth, watch my video titled: The Zero Sum Game (What is a Zero Sum Game and How To End One). Any time a needs or desires conflict arises, we expect them to do what is best for us, even if they have to go against their own best interests to do it.  We expect them to willingly lose that zero sum game and if they don’t, we decide it is because they are self centered and cruel and they don’t love us.
For example, imagine that a woman enters into a relationship with a man.  In the beginning it seems like they are on the same page in terms of desires.  But soon, it is obvious they aren’t. He lives in an intentional community and loves it and does not want children.  She wants a single family home and is ready to start a family. It is a serious enough conflict that she is always miserable when she’s with the community and no matter how nice their time is when it is just the two of them, he never changes his mind and keeps bringing her back to the community.  Neither of them face the incompatibility and decide together what to do with it, so it begins to feel like he is simply fine seeing her in pain. She decides that if he loved her, he couldn’t see her in this pain and would choose to leave the community and get himself in the mental space to have a child.  He doesn’t because this is the opposite of his best interests. When he doesn’t, she decides that he is a total self-centered ass hole who held her back from her true desires and whom she can’t trust and who doesn’t love her.   
This pattern is a set up.  It is a set up because we put people in a zero sum game where we expect them to willingly lose.  And then we decide when they don’t willingly lose that they are terrible and unloving and that we can’t trust them.  But the fact that we put them in that position and expect what we expect means we can’t be trusted.  The bottom line is, we cannot put someone in the lose-lose scenario of making them choose between playing a zero sum game or self sacrificing and call it love.  
The main reason this dynamic occurs is that people are unwilling to face incompatibility in their relationships.  When we can’t face incompatibility, the conflicts that arise because of differences that are non-harmonious, cause us to fight for the rightness and goodness of our own preferences and choices.  We fight for them by fighting against the other person’s preferences and choices as if they are bad, wrong or dysfunctional.  The relationship eventually devolves into both people feeling shamed by the other. It devolves into the ‘if you loved me, you wouldn’t do this/if you loved me you wouldn’t ask me not to’ dynamic. 
Therefore, we may find ourselves in situations where no matter how much we love someone, we can’t do or be what they want and need without hurting ourselves.  In these moments, we have to get that love is not something that is demonstrated by hurting ourselves for someone else’s sake. We only have this definition of love because it is what your adult caregivers taught us in childhood.  They taught us that the highest expression of love is when we sacrificed our desires and needs for theirs and for other people’s. This is simply a zero sum game played for personal happiness under the guise of love. We got positive feedback and avoided consequences for choosing to lose this zero sum game, so our wires are crossed. 
One thing that must be understood is that we also have to stop thinking that an excuse for refusing to see incompatibility is that we know what their best interests are better than they do.  It is common when we can see that a person is making choices in their life based off of unhealed wounding, that we decide their best interest is to make the choice that we would want them to make.  But we have to accept that a person has free will. And what counts is whether they see something as their best interest, not whether we see it as their best interest.
If someone is unwilling or unable to align with your best interests, it is more likely an indication of incompatibility than it is an indication that your needs and desires are wrong or that they are a cruel, self centered person who does not love you.
In order to gain awareness around this, get a piece of paper and write the sentence:  If they loved me _____________.” Think of a situation where someone didn’t act as if they loved you.  Then fill in the blank with as many things as you can think of that you would expect them to do differently if they loved you.  For example, they would have cancelled the meeting, they would have stayed loyal instead of cheated, they would have made an effort to impress my family, they would have known I was overworked and made dinner for me etc.  Then become aware of how in those statements, you may just be expecting them to abandon their own best interests for your sake. See how you may be expecting them to willingly lose a zero sum game.
If someone genuinely loves you, it is reasonable to expect that they consider and caretake your best interests as well as mutually address any incompatibility that arises.  But if they love you, and if you love them, you cannot expect him or her to abandon his or her best interests for your sake.  Needs conflicts arise in relationships and when they do, it is easy to slip into a zero sum game.  You cannot define whether someone loves you or how trustworthy they are by how willing they are to lose that zero sum game so you can have your needs and desires fulfilled at their expense.
When we take someone’s best interests as a part of our own, it does not mean that we abandon ours.  When we love someone, our own desires and needs do not get thrown out the window. It simply becomes easier to prioritize the various needs that exist.  It simply makes it easier to see where incompatibility does and doesn’t exist. When we experience an incompatibility, we can then find a ‘third option’, an arrangement where by agreeing to changes, both people can feel the best that is possible in that given situation.  The third option is not the same as a compromise. It is a decision or arrangement that is the highest and best option for both parties given the incompatibility. And deciding upon this option together instead of unilaterally is what makes the relationship safe.

Is Teal Swan an Online Cult or Not?

In today’s world, there is a lot of fear about cults and understandably so seeing as how there have been multiple tragic incidents involving them in the past.  But this fear has led to a collective paranoia. The term cult and cult leader are now loosely thrown around like a subjective catchall term. And this has caused many people to distrust anyone in a position of spiritual influence.  Because of this collective paranoia, people are accusing me of being a cult leader and those who watch my material of being in a cult. This is a very serious allegation. For this reason, I want to take this opportunity to address this accusation head on. 
The fact that cult has become a subjective catchall term makes a rational conversation about cults difficult.  In the beginning, the word cult had no derogatory or negative connotations.  Cult was simply a word used to describe a group of religious people.  In the 1900s it became a term to describe a group of people who demonstrated excessive religious devotion.  And now, it is a derogatory term used as an attacking ad hominem to discredit, invalidate and dehumanize spiritual or religious groups. People use the word loosely and flippantly as an insult, not knowing how serious an accusation that really is.  In today’s world, if all it takes to be a cult leader is to have a devoted following on social media and therefore lots of influence on public opinion, then every celebrity could be accused of being one.            
Most people aren’t in fact working with a solid definition or criteria when it comes to classifying a group of people as a cult.  This means they don’t have proof, only accusations. Instead, people are working with a ‘feeling’ or ‘association’ they have. We found out just how dangerous this was during the witch trials generations ago.  As we know from back then, the ‘feelings’ and associations’ that made someone convinced that a person was a witch, were usually not based on anything other than a person’s own insecurities. For example, when a judge was threatened by the idea of a female in power, he would condemn a woman as a witch when she tried to change the law regarding inheritance and land tenure.  We have to be very careful that the paranoia about cults does not trend in the direction of a modern day witch-hunt. For this reason and for the sake of this conversation, I am going to use an established and widely accepted list of criteria for cults as the basis of our conversation. 
The first thing you must understand before I go any further is that I am a personal transformation revolutionary.  I am not a cult leader. The Teal Tribe is a shared personal growth community that is based on the material and information I create.  Teal Tribe is not a cult.  
Two PhD’s, Janja Lalich and Michael D. Langone in association with the ICSA created a “cult checklist”, a way to tell if a group is in fact a cult or not.  I am going to focus on their assessment for the sake of this discussion.  The following list is a collection of behavioral patterns that are commonly found in cultic environments. 
The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as law. I ask that people have unwavering commitment to themselves.  Questioning is a central theme of Teal Tribe because it is the only way to find out what is true for you personally.  I offer people my perspectives and opinions, I don’t present them as law.
  Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. I encourage questioning.  I see doubt as a normal part of personal expansion; it is a call to discover personal truth.  Dissent does not lead to punishment.  People are welcomed in the group even if their opinion varies from my own or other people’s.  Constructive conversation about conflicting viewpoints is an opportunity for establishing a higher truth.
  Mind-altering practices are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).  No consciousness-altering states are encouraged or used by myself or any of those who follow my material with the purpose of suppressing anything.  All of the processes, tools and practices we use are done specifically to help people to access things like personal freedom, health, clarity, peace and authenticity.
  The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, and so forth).  Like every other person, I have many opinions about the healthiest or best ways to do certain things.  Like any spiritual leader, my opinion is the cornerstone of my career.  But I encourage people to try on these opinions and perspectives and decide if they are benefitted by it.  I do not tell people what to wear, whether or not to have children, where to live, who to date, what their purpose is, what job to get etc). If people ask for my opinion, it is their choice to implement the suggestion and adopt the opinion or not.  No one in this group needs my permission for anything and needing permission suggests a lack of self-trust.  My intention is to teach people to govern themselves.
  The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).  I think all people alive today (regardless of whether they are associated with me or not) have a very important role to play in the success of humanity.  Because of this, all people are special because of this unique role they play in the bigger picture of human life on earth. I am simply playing one of these special roles.
  The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.  I am not alone in recognizing that there are important changes that must be made in the wider society.  Society must evolve with each generation. But an us-versus-them way of thinking and being is the exact opposite of what I teach.  I teach oneness. I teach integration.  Us vs. them thinking is out of alignment with both my teaching of oneness and integration. My vision is for humanity to be able to take an integrative, multi-perspective approach to all of society’s issues.
  The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, psychologists, military commanders or ministers).  In coming to understand people’s fear about cults and even religions, this is the element that seems to frighten people the most.  The idea of checks and balances makes people feel safe. When people feel they have less power than someone else, they immediately imagine that their only way of ensuring safety relative to that person is to know that someone else (or multiple people) with equal or greater power can reduce that person’s power or take it away entirely.  Everyone on earth is accountable to something that could be seen as having “more authority” than they do including me. I’m not above the law. Contrary to what people may imagine, I do not consider myself the ultimate authority. I strongly believe that power comes from excellence. For example, no matter how hard I try, I will never be as good with accounting than my COO. Therefore when it comes to accounting, he is the one with the authority.  No matter how hard I try, I will never be as good at editing as my video editor; therefore he has control over editing decisions. If I am in an operating room, I have no control or authority over what happens there, a surgeon does. My opinion is that it is very important to be aware of and in reality about the areas where you do have authority and the areas where you don’t.
  The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities). If something feels unethical or reprehensible to someone, it is an inner message that they are out of alignment with themselves and this message is never to be ignored.  No ends justify a loss of personal integrity.  And it is the fact that I encourage honesty with one’s family and friends that causes the most conflict between people who follow my material and their family and friends that do not follow my material.
  The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion. My vision for those who resonate with my material is that they are healing and support oriented.  As such, I do not see how inducing shame and guilt could play any part in healing and because free will is such an important part of my core message, I do not condone anyone participating in or succumbing to peer pressure.  Guilt and shame are not tools used in an authenticity based community of people because they discourage authenticity.  It is important to distinguish between someone shaming you as opposed to feeling shame in relation to something that someone is saying or posting online.
  Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.  I teach people to question everything, listen to their own internal guidance system, be honest with themselves, become their real authentic self, set themselves free from fears and own their own their own life to the degree that they can fully live it.  My vision is multi generational healing. If people cut ties with their family or friends, it is because they have decided it is in their own best interests to do so. On a personal note, while I will support anything that is authentically in alignment with a person’s highest good, it makes me personally sad when this happens because it means the potential for a family systems change and collective healing obsolete.  If you follow my material, you do not have to cut ties with anyone or radically alter your goals and activities before or after joining the group. You will be asked to re-evaluate your life because re-evaluation (and the changes that naturally occur during a spiritual metamorphosis or healing cycle) may reveal to you personally that making changes to your life is in alignment with your highest good.  Because it is not a requirement in any way, the decision to make changes to one’s life is left entirely to the individuals themselves.
  The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.  People who watch my videos and read my books and attend my seminars are not preoccupied with bringing in new members, they are preoccupied with their own healing and happiness.  Sharing my content with the people in their lives is not done with the intention of recruiting them. There is a big difference with sharing content and trying to recruit people.  Sharing content is done because the person sharing it believes that it will benefit other people too. I would hope that the quality of my work would be reason enough for people to subscribe to my channels and share my videos and connect with each other of their own volition.  There is no need to convert someone to something that feels good and has enough obvious value.
  The group is preoccupied with making money.  My company is a for profit company.   That being said, money is not the central intention of my career, which is why I offer so much free content and also volunteer opportunities and scholarships.  The people who follow my material do not try to make money for the group or myself. They have their own lives; their own jobs, their own bills to pay and their own personal financial concerns just like everyone else in society.  There is no membership. Premium content subscription is not the same thing as paying to be a member of a group and/or tithing. No one is required to give money to be part of what I do. If I put a product or an event on the market, people can decide whether or not to pay for it (just like any other product on the market) based on whether or not it is valuable to them.
  Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities. No one is required to do anything in this group.  People in this group who want to donate their time, come forward as volunteers and volunteer for as long as they feel called to do so.  It is completely up to individuals how much time they agree to dedicate to anything.
  Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. No one is encouraged to ONLY socialize with people who follow my material.  I find this extremely unhealthy. If people choose to connect with other people who resonate with my material, it is because that is where they feel the most connection and support and understanding and nothing more.  My ultimate vision is that society can change enough that a person who resonates with my material can find just as much connection, support and understanding with someone that does not even know who I am and who does not follow my material as they can with someone who does.
  The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.  There is life anywhere you go whether that is following my material or not.  Relative to Teal Tribe, there are guidelines (like there are on any social media platform) that serve to support a healthy social environment and they apply to anyone who is aligned with the group and also anyone considering leaving.  I cannot (nor should I) control how people are going to feel if someone that was part of the group decides to turn against the group or myself and/or leave it. If someone decides to leave, we would hope they would do so in a way that is authentic to what supports their highest good, a way that is responsible and a way that is respectful and loving to the rest of the community that is deciding to stay.  But our policy is that there is absolutely no reprisal, consequence or punishment for choosing to leave Teal Tribe.  And the Teal Tribe is also open to people returning. Some people choose to take hiatuses for various reasons and therefore come and go at their own discretion. Abraham Lincoln once said that no man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.  And then it must be considered that the giving of consent is an act of free will and therefore the giver of consent is governing himself by giving his power away.
If people are worried about being led astray or joining a cult, the real issue is two things, a lack of self-trust and a fear of influence. If people are worried about someone else being lead astray or joining a cult, the real issue is that they do not trust that person with themselves and they believe that free will can be taken away.  If self trust and belief in one’s own free will did exist, one would trust themselves to keep on the path of what is right for themselves and the world regardless of other people going astray.  The real conversation to be had, which is being highlighted by the topic of cults is about free will and influence.  Therefore, ask yourself, why don’t I trust myself?  Why am I afraid that I can be influenced into losing my free will?  Let this be the real conversation between yourself and those who you think have joined a cult.  Why don’t you trust them with themself?  Why do you think they can be influenced into losing their free will?  It is a very good measure of what you think of them and at the end of the day, it is insulting.  As with anything else, trust your own discernment.  Decide for yourself. The only life worth living is a life that is lived in alignment with your own sense of integrity.  
Power and influence is not bad in and of itself.  It is rather like a tool whose use depends on the intention of the person wielding it.  Part of being in a position of power is to be aware of the right use of that power.  When it comes to influence, the most important thing is the intention behind a person’s desire to influence others.  For example, a politician might have the intention to influence people towards a policy because they have personal financial interests that would benefit by the adoption of that policy.  On the other hand, they might have the intention of influencing people towards that policy because they believe strongly that it is in the best interests of the collective. I have the intention of influencing people towards their own personal truth and authenticity and towards making better decisions in their relationships and lives so that the world becomes an even better place for us all.

Priceless Motivation Tip (Find the Self-Serving Motive)

All of us experience difficulty feeling motivated to do certain things.  When this is the case, doing those things feels like drudgery and we lose energy by doing them.  I have taught a lot about the importance of building a life around the things that you really love doing.  But today, I’m going to teach you another tool. There is a way that you can intentionally stir up inspiration, which can actually make you feel motivated to do the things you are unmotivated to do and fill you with energy instead of deplete you.  
Being incarnated into an individual identity, people are naturally self-interested.  It is very difficult for a person to feel motivated to do something when they perceive that they aren’t experiencing big enough personal benefit by doing that thing.  The way to change this dynamic is to work with your tendency to be self-interested and to intentionally find the self-serving motive that would allow you to feel inspired to do that thing.  Doing this boils down to an intention or a goal.  
So you can understand this concept, here are some examples:  Let’s say that someone hates being a helper. If someone asks this person to help him or her with a problem they are having, this person might feel completely unmotivated.  But perhaps they love problem solving. If their intention is to personally get better at the skill of problem solving, suddenly they will feel motivated to do it. To the outside, it will seem like they are helping.  But really they are focusing on developing and honing their own mastery of problem solving.
Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to do errands but they are totally motivated to develop autonomy in the world.  If they choose to go on those errands as an exercise in developing autonomy, suddenly they will feel energy to do it.  
Another example is a person might feel totally unmotivated to cook.  But they love art. If they choose to consider all of the ingredients to be muli-sensory artistic elements and decide to make art with the food, suddenly they are motivated to cook.
Another example is that a person might hate conflict.  When conflict arises, they have absolutely no desire to be involved.  But this same person may really, really care about safety and really be motivated to create and maintain it.  This person might see that avoiding the conflict will only make it fester and increase the chance of emotional injury.  If he or she enters into the conflict with the intention of consciously creating safety, he or she will suddenly be motivated to engage in conversation as long as it takes to resolve the conflict.
Another example is that a person may hate part of playing a sport.  However, they may be totally motivated to be the best at it. If they focus on their desire to be the very best at the sport, they are suddenly motivated to do even the parts of the sport that they dislike. 
Another example is that a person might feel totally unmotivated to do the dishes.  But this person might be dedicated to the spiritual practice of being in the now. If they use the experience of washing the dishes as a meditative experience of being in the now by really feeling the water and the texture of each dish and smelling the various smells and going slowly and watching the way the light refracts off of the suds and soap bubbles, suddenly they will feel more energy and motive to do the dishes.
Another example is that someone might hate the concept of going to work to make money.  But they may love the feeling of abundance. If they go to work focused on creating abundance, they will suddenly feel motivated.
This kind of motive re-framing is something that successful people do naturally and automatically.  To start this habit, make a list of what currently really motivates you, something you are committed to for your own sense of wellbeing and personal benefit.  Then see if any of those things on the list can be found in the things that you don’t like to do. 
Another tip is that if you don’t like something, find a person who loves it.  Study their mindset. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their experience so as to figure out what they see in that thing that you don’t.  You might just grow a whole new appreciation for that thing. 
In every situation that you find yourself unmotivated, see if you can find something inherent in that situation that really does motivate you and really does feel like it is in alignment with your personal best interests.  In other words, find the things that interest you within the things that don’t.
You can find a goal within anything.  It can even be a goal to have no goal in a situation.  When that goal excites you and motivates you, even doing things that you wouldn’t at face value want to do will feel as if they give you something and therefore feed you with energy instead of deplete you.

The Media

We love information.  In order to communicate that information, we need mediums.  In today’s world this means we are dependent on things like newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the Internet.  The word media is simply the plural form of the word medium. These mediums have the power to influence people greatly both positively and negatively. Like it or not, you have a relationship with the mass media and so you need to understand it.
The first thing to understand about the media is that no matter what anyone representing the media may say, the media is not for you and it is not against you.  It is not here to benefit you and it is not here to destroy you.  It is a business. It is a business and everyone has their own personal reasons for being a part of that business and like any other business, everyone has their own personal best interests consider.  The media is focused on one thing, what sells. And the only way to do this is to focus on what gets attention, ratings and subscriptions. Another way of saying this is the media is focused on delivering information or entertainment that matters to people.  But the primary reason you should not immediately swallow and believe anything you see or hear or read in the media is because it is a business. When it comes to business there are always personal interests involved; the question is what interests and whose?
There are several elements that currently capture human attention and determine that something matters.  Elements like conflict, threat, crisis, intrigue, intensity, the bizarre, death, celebrity, impact, timeliness, proximity and human interest (stories about people that evoke heightened emotionality).
We all know that the media is not exempt from corruption.  There are ethics involved in any business. However it is up to individual mediums and the people working for those mediums whether or not they are going to behave ethically.  This is the biggest concern when it comes to the media. I found out just how deep this corruption runs when the first major periodical ran a slander piece about me. When our entertainment lawyer contacted them, it was calmly and explicitly explained by both the media outlet and the entertainment lawyer that once you get ‘big’ enough, this is the ‘unofficial press exchange’.  When you’re a celebrity, you don’t have the same individual privacy rights that a citizen holds. You as a person fall under the same freedom of press laws that were originally enacted to enable the press to write about the government and government officials. This means anyone can do a bad press article about you; after which it is expected that you will pay the media outlet a sizeable amount of money to run a positive one.  After which they will do another negative one, after which it is expected that you will pay them to do another positive one. They consider this a win-win because it keeps you relevant and them getting attention. And the reason that you have to pay for the positive content is because it isn’t going to capture the same attention that a negative one would. No one cares how ‘good’ Teal Swan is. This should really terrify you because it means that if money can dictate what stories are done and published or even which ones are suppressed, the information being shared can be dictated by the corporations that would most benefit by that information being shared or not shared.  This is what is happening right now with pharmaceutical companies for example. Nothing sells more flu vaccines than stories about dangerous outbreaks and doctors testifying that the anti vaccine movement is going to bring back all the deadly diseases of the past and tearful personal interest stories.
Every media outlet and platform is going to be different because it is a different sector of the overall media business.  They are not all created equal any more than any other business is created equal. For example, we all know that certain news channels offer totally biased reporting and others are much more reliable in keeping with the ideal of balanced reporting.  Some entertainment platforms cater only to men and others only to women. Every medium is an individual business that will operate differently. Something that needs to be understood, but that will create lots of resistance especially in the news media, is that it is not possible for a person (including a member of the press) be completely un-biased.  We should all be completely in support of things like the ethics code of journalism. However they often run counter to human psychology itself and any philosopher could successfully win a debate where the argument is that it is impossible to be truly ‘balanced and fair’ when an individual is the one presenting information. This must especially be understood relative to news media because news is a business for journalists and reporters as well.
When people watch the news, they usually project that whatever they are seeing is being shared in the name of truth as if the sharing of the information is a good Samaritan act.  Get this idea out of your head. It is being shared for the sake of drumming up good business. For example, a reporter isn’t a self-sacrificing philanthropist. He or she has a career.  When he or she decides to cover a story, it is for the sake of the advancement of his or her own career. The way they report on a story, the content they decide to report on and the way they conduct an interview is based on one thing, their own success.  When a celebrity or politician sits down for an interview, they are focused on one thing, getting their own message out on that media outlet. Even though it seems like the two are having a conversation and playing the same game of question and answer, their actual game is not in fact to ask questions and to answer questions.  It is a game of mutual use and usually it’s a zero sum game. If the person being interviewed gets emotional or answers in a way that drums up any of the elements of newsworthiness, the reporter has just made a career advancement for themselves so they win and the person they are interviewing loses. If the person being interviewed doesn’t fall into any of those intentionally placed traps and instead manages to convey whatever message they want to convey for the sake of their own advancement, they win and the reporter loses.  This may actually make it make sense to you now why the president seems to evade questions and answers questions the way he does.
When people first become aware of the reality of the media, there is a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There is a tendency to make all media bad and to look at all media professionals as corrupt antagonists. The thing is, we want the media.  We’re tied to it 24 hours a day. And the people who work for the media are people just like you or I. There are always conscious and unconscious reasons why we gravitate towards the careers we choose.  To help you to understand the news media deeper, I’m going to share with you the most common pattern that turns someone into a reporter or journalist. Most journalists and news reporters were wounded in childhood relative to their own sense of personal importance.  Because they couldn’t be important or special enough to the people in their lives to deserve their full attention, the closest they could get was to feel important by being a part of something that those people found to be important. They had to be a part of it all and in the middle of it, or else they were totally alone.  The story that a journalist or reporter will want to tell or choose to tell is the story that will make they, themselves feel or seem the most important. Ironically, because of this, they are prone to ‘shadow importance strategies’. For example, there is a natural envy that exists in them towards people who are seen as important.  This creates a subconscious desire to tear down the people who are important enough for them to report on. They also feel important in the power they hold which is being ‘in the know’ and being ‘in control of the perspective of the viewer’ (public opinion).
All this being said, most media professionals have a moral streak.  Most were conscious enough of being hurt by someone and conscious enough of their need to be included by others that they do not want to be the bad guy.  They don’t want to be important for something bad. This is why they come up with ways to justify and condone their actions. For example, they are justified in pretending to be sympathetic when they aren’t, because it caused the bad guy to expose himself.  The other ‘sister wound’ that drives people to become a journalist or reporter is along these lines of morality. The wound is: Being hurt by un-truths. They have this in common with many scientists as well. This is the wound that makes this profession more enticing than other professions where one could get importance in a round about way.  I have never met a reporter or journalist who wasn’t significantly wounded in their life because of false information, naivety, gas lighting, lying and/or other forms of consequences that specifically involve un-truths.  Because of this, truth and what is real becomes an obsession and they often see themselves as public heroes for seeking out and exposing the truth so that others can be spared that pain that they experienced in their early life.  Truth becomes their definition of safety for themselves and others.
 A journalist or reporter will eventually find themselves in an existential crisis relative to truth itself.  The more they see that truth is difficult to establish, can be spun and influenced with inflection, is much more complicated than meets the eye, involves multiple perspectives and is a philosophical debate in and of itself, the less stable and safe they will feel in the world.   How a journalist copes with this truth crisis determines how good or bad they will be at adhering to the ethics of journalism.
Obviously there are many wounds and motives and beliefs that would negatively tarnish one’s ability to accurately seek and tell the truth.  Obviously when a person’s own importance and career advancement juxtaposes the truth, it presents a conflict of interest for someone who possesses both interests.  But truth seekers and truth tellers are needed. Information is needed. And entertainment holds immense potential.
Media is a business just like any other business and you actually have way more control over the media than you think.  This is my core message for you today… Because the media is a business that operates according to what gets ratings, subscriptions and attention, it is in fact people (you and me) that are in control of what is on the media.  Even though much of what drives attention is biological, you can have conscious awareness of this and therefore be in a place of free will and choice.  The media is primarily a reflection of what interests humans. If people change what they are interested in, the content on the media will change. Every time you watch a show, every time you click on a news story, every time you tune into a podcast, you are voting for what information is important to you.  And each vote you cast adds up to the picture of what is important to the human race. So from this day forward, when it comes to giving your attention to anything, think about your vote. If something is important enough to capture your attention, ask yourself why that thing is important to you.  Everything you click on or watch is an invitation for the media to show you more of that.  For that reason, everything you deem important enough to deserve your attention is shaping the future.

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